Is there any mileage in unethical business?
It’s well known that car makers use all kinds of tricks to bump up the apparent fuel efficiency of their vehicles (surely easily sorted by the authorities with a little effort), but the revelation that VW had engineered their diesel cars to only switch on emissions controls when they are being tested beggars belief. The company faces fines up to $18bn in the US, an expensive recall programme and untold reputational damage.
As an engineer, it pains me that (presumably) a whole bunch of engineers were in on this scam. They would’ve been much better off putting all that effort into creating engines which meet standards and give great performance.
The VW boss Martin Winterkorn has ordered an ‘external investigation’ into the scandal, but the question he needs to ask himself is how he let a culture develop where this kind of thing was deemed acceptable.