VW watchdog team tripled to prevent another global emissions scandal
Almost two years ago Volkswagen shocked the motor industry when it was revealed that the giant car manufacturer had been cheating emissions testing around the world. When confronted by authorities, Volkswagen admitted what they had done quickly and prevented accumulating larger fines and penalties.
The car maker has since been dragged through the mud, paying billions upon billions to wronged consumers and authorities in the U.S. as part of a plea deal to pay penalty fines, settlement sums, and invest in environmental health projects in the U.S.
Albeit, for the rest of the world, they have done very little so far!
However, back in the U.S., VW is now allowing an external team of experts to watch over their operations; and the team is growing…
Around 20 external car experts were originally hired to check on Volkswagen’s operations to make sure there were no more attempts to cheat again, and ensure that they would comply with the plea deal.
It has since been reported that the independent watchdog staff have been tripled.
According to Larry Thompson, Chief monitor in charge, the staff will be working full-time to check through documents and even interview VW employees for information. The monitoring staff’s main purpose is to check for compliance, but having tripled their numbers, it may be that VWs cheating goes deeper than originally thought.
Valuable insight gained
The employee interviews are important as it not only allows authorities to gain insight into how the company operates, but also how employees feel about the scandal. Thompson revealed that employees “really feel that they’ve been let down by the company”.
Those at the top of Volkswagen may feel uncomfortable with the tripling of the watchdog staff. The company is perhaps accustomed to operating with a small knit of powerful players making all of the “strategic decisions”, Bloomberg reports. With the 60 monitoring staff, important decisions may not be made or implemented without careful observation.
Monitoring likely to spread
Thompson’s monitoring force is likely to spread across multiple brands to ensure compliance across the board. At the moment, the focus is on the head offices at VW Wolfsburg.
A five day “boot camp” was conducted with some of the managers at VW Wolfsburg to gain an overall insight into how the company operated. Although VW have allowed access to the external monitoring staff, they’re still refusing to share findings from the Jones Day investigation with everyone.
Still a long way to go…
Volkswagen still has a long way to go if they really want to regain consumer trust. Investors are unlikely to feel confident in the company unless it acts with more integrity.
So far, all Volkswagen has done is act strategically to mitigate financial loss and comply with the basic legal minimums in the U.S. They probably only entered the plea deal because it meant lesser penalty fines, not because they felt they owe it to their loyal customers. If they did care about their customers, they’d be offering resolutions across the world.
As we can see in the contrasting behaviour in the U.K., where the laws are different, Volkswagen has denied liability here but offer no sympathy to U.K. owners.
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