VW Dieselgate Part 2: VW is not a Rogue in Europe

It takes a village to build a catastrophe. The Volkswagen Group’s (VW) 2015 Dieselgate scandal is just one of the many examples that prove this rule.

VW sold 11 million diesel cars world-wide with ‘defeat devices’ designed to cheat emissions testing for nitrous oxides (NOx). This deception was caught in the U.S., where VW had sold about 600,000 of these vehicles. So far the resulting Dieselgate scandal has cost VW $25 billion U.S. in fines and other costs.

VW’s offending diesels were sold from 2008 – 2015, producing up to 40 times the U.S. limits of NOx when driven normally. This was not a trivial problem.

The Dieselgate report shows in very clear terms how a potential catastrophe can fester just under the surface for many years, even in the most sophisticated companies. A village of people within VW were involved in keeping the deception and the emissions out of the news so that they could sell more of their ‘Clean Diesels.’

The report also illustrates many actions that could have stopped Dieselgate in its tracks. As Bernd Osterloh, a VW board member observed, “We need in future a climate in which problems aren’t hidden but can be openly communicated to superiors. We need a culture in which it’s possible and permissible to argue with your superior about the best way to go.”

Reports for Download

  • Preventing Catastrophe in Organizations. (2014). Download Here.
  • Preventing Catastrophe in Organizations, Executive Summary. Download Here.
  • Volkswagen’s Dieselgate Part 1: How to Build a Catastrophe. (2017). Download Here.
  • Volkswagen’s Dieselgate Part 2: VW is not a Rogue Company in Europe (to be released November 2017).