News came out this week that VW engineered its software to evade emissions tests. The vehicle can detect when it’s being tested, to reduce emissions to allowable levels. As soon as the test is over, under real driving conditions, emissions are 30 or 40 times higher.
Volkswagen has acknowledged that similar software exists in 11 million diesel cars worldwide. The CEO has resigned.
This scandal hurts the reputation not only of VW (which also owns Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini, and Bentley), it hurts the reputation of Germany. When we think “German engineering,” we’ve historically thought of reliability, precision and performance. Now we may be more inclined to think “sneaky” or even “dishonest.”