Volkswagen has provided an update into the investigation of the Dieselgate scandal.

Volkswagen has provided an update into the investigation of the Dieselgate scandal.

According to the automaker, three factors played a role in the emissions scandal.  The company says this includes the "misconduct and shortcomings of individual employees," weaknesses in "some processes," and a "mindset in some areas of the company that tolerated breaches of rules." 

More specifically, Volkswagen says deficiencies in processes have favored misconduct and this is especially true for the testing and certification the company's engine control devices.  The company says these processes were "not suited" to preventing the use of defeat devices but the Group Audit has developed specific remedies to correct this.

Speaking of the latter, Volkswagen says future software for engine control devices will be developed more strictly in accordance with the "4-eyes principle" that requires at least two people to be involved.

From the information that has been gathered so far, Volkswagen believes the root cause of the scandal started in 2005 when the company made a "strategic decision to launch a large-scale promotion of diesel vehicles in the United States."  However, Volkswagen says it was impossible to have the EA 189 engine meet the stricter nitrogen oxide requirements in the United States within the required timeframe and budget.  This issue ultimately "led to the incorporation of software that adjusted nitrogen oxide emission levels according to whether vehicles were on the road or being tested."

Volkswagen has also determined its testing practices must undergo comprehensive changes.  As part of this, future emission tests will be evaluated externally and independently.  Volkswagen will also conduct random "real-life tests to assess emissions behavior on the road."

Volkswagen's internal investigation will be completed shortly, but the Jones Day investigation will continue into next year. The company says the law firm needs additional time as investigation has collected 102 terabytes of information so far and this is roughly the same amount of information that is contained in 50 million books.  The investigators also collected more than 1,500 electronic storage devices from approximately 380 employees which will need to be reviewed.  There's no word on when the external investigation will be complete but Volkswagen will provide an update at its Annual General Meeting on April 21, 2016.

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