According to VW Ag’s highest US executive, Michael Horn, the company’s massive scandal regarding diesel emissions cheating has been the work of “individuals” and not a corporate decision.
Horn, Volkswagen’s US president and chief executive, has appeared in front of US lawmakers on Thursday, testifying under oath to the House of Representatives Oversight and Investigations panel in regards to the emissions scandal that was triggered last month when the EPA uncovered the use of rigged software. The global automotive industry has been rocked by the use of cheating software to falsely comply to emissions standards and the biggest crisis in the company’s 78-year history has wiped off around a third of its market cap.
“This was a couple of software engineers who put this in for whatever reason,” Horn commented when explaining how the software code – called a defeat device – was put in diesel-powered models since 2009. “Some people have made the wrong decisions in order to get away with something that will have to be found out,” added the executive when questioned if the carmaker used the hacked software to save money rather than increase its costs to use the full array of emissions cutting technology.
So far the German carmaker has only suspended 10 senior executives, including three key engineers during the proceeds of its internal probe – so far the investigation has found the employees resorted to using the cheating device after finding that an expensive new engine would not be able to comply with US emissions laws, media reports have stated.
“Either your entire organization is incompetent when it comes to trying to come up with intellectual property, and I don’t believe that for a second, or they are complicit at the highest levels in a massive cover-up that continues today,” responded Representative Chris Collins, a Republican from New York, aptly rejecting Horn’s statement that it was not a corporate decision to use the illegal software.