Not sure it changed my mind much, but was interesting none the less.
Engine project put in place with half or less the usual amount of time and with the expectation of creating breakthrough technology. No one knows if they can make the targets but all want to give it a go, so they say and do what it takes to get the project launched.
Engineering team is struggling, not even close to reaching emissions target, deadlines are looming. Defeat device is available already for fairly valid reasons, Meetings are called to discuss keeping it in the production code. We really shouldn't do it, but we don't know of any other way we can ship the product without it. It's just going to be in there for six months because by then we'll find those elusive breakthroughs we haven't been able to find for the last two years (?!?).
Engineers later say they didn't expect managers to approve the change, managers say engineers never made it clear it was cheating. In retrospect engineers should have known managers are unethical as hell (and probably did) yet later they knew they could blame the managers. Managers should know when engineers give you something that is too good to be true it probably is, so you better be asking lots of questions.
Once everyone thinks an outcome has been reached, no one questions it. Once it's in, the simplest thing to do is just keep it in. Everyone else in the industry is doing it, right? No one else is facing legal consequences, right? Then, when the next program comes along, they got away with it so why should we hold our self to a higher standard?
I guess the only thing more permanent than a temporary tax is a temporary software fix. Been there, done that.
Engineers sleep well at night, we explained this to the managers, they'll communicate it up the ladder, that's what they're paid for, right? Yet each rung of the ladder gives a somewhat more vague explanation as it moves up the ladder. At some point someone decides it really doesn't have to go any further. The wagons are circled.
Eventually things get too the point where things are getting hot and you gotta cover your backside, so you slip some vaguely worded concern into the CEO's "weekend mail" hoping he either doesn't read it or he doesn't pick up on vaguely worded concerns.
Here's a breakdown of that:
"On 23 May 2014, a memo about the ICCT study was prepared for Martin Winterkorn, then-Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG," VW stated. "This memo was included in his extensive weekend mail. Whether and to which extent Mr. Winterkorn took notice of this memo at that time is not documented."
VW is referring to the International Council on Clean Transportation study in 2014 that reported nitrogen-oxide outputs for two VW models differed significantly between road-testing cycles and bench-testing cycles. At that point, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) requested an explanation from VW, which resulted in the automaker's offer to recalibrate first- and second-generation EA189 engines in the affected vehicles as part of regular service.
"On 14 Nov. 2014, Mr. Winterkorn received another memo that reported, amongst other things, on several then-current product-defect cases and referred to a cost framework of approximately 20 million euros for the diesel issue in North America," VW says, still uncertain about whether Winterkorn read and understood the implications.
It is worth pointing out that these memos did not likely speculate that the discrepancies resulted from an illegal type of software program that VW installed in the engines, so it is possible that Winterkorn may not have had cause to suspect that was the case.
Ref: https://www.autoweek.com/drives/a181299 ... -cheating/
Eventually some mid level manger whose job involves interfacing with a government agency ends up taking the fall. Mark Forkner, meet Oliver Schmidt.
Media aren't really interested in the minutia of where things got dropped in the management chain, more shades of the MAX tragedy. However, that's where the conspiracy lies, presuming there is one. The bigger they are, the harder they fall, so they go after the CEO. The buck stops there, right?
The CEO drags things out and makes the smallest possible concessions but in the end it's not enough, he's out, yet it's not the end of the world. The company carries insurance so when the inevitable shareholder lawsuit comes the board and the c-suite are mostly in the clear, and have been paid enough over the years that it's small potatoes, they have tens of millions of dollars in the bank. Their class looks after its own.
I had a manager pull the "other projects get away with this unethical thing, why can't we" thing on me. I'm glad I didn't give in even though I got some career damage for it. Once you give an inch, they will take a mile, and in the end you mess up your own value system in ways they don't know or care about.