Volkswagen has blamed the Dieselgate scandal on handful of rogue engineers but internal memos and e-mails are suggesting executives knew about defeat devices well before the company officially acknowledged them. According to documents reviewed by The New York Times, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was warned that government regulators might accuse the company of using defeat devices in May of 2014. Winterkorn has previously said he only learned about the existence of defeat devices shortly before the scandal erupted and this memo seems to contradict his statement.

Volkswagen has blamed the Dieselgate scandal on handful of rogue engineers but internal memos and e-mails are suggesting executives knew about defeat devices well before the company officially acknowledged them.

According to documents reviewed by The New York Times, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was warned that government regulators might accuse the company of using defeat devices in May of 2014.  Winterkorn has previously said he only learned about the existence of defeat devices shortly before the scandal erupted but this memo seems to contradict his statement.

Even more interesting is an internal presentation which was made in April of 2014 and revealed a simple software update couldn't fix the emissions problem.  However, this didn't stop the company from conducting a voluntary recall to update the engine software.  Unsurprisingly, the update didn't correct the emissions issue when tested by regulators in California.

The documents also show Volkswagen managers were debating how to handle the growing crisis.  These reportedly included everything from a flat-out denial to an admission and a plan to buy back diesel-powered vehicles in the United States.

Some Volkswagen insiders have contended the documents don't show the full picture but they could pose a serious problem for the automaker as Volkswagen could be on the hook for lying to investigators and shareholders.

Source: The New York Times via Engadget

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