Honestly, at this point we’d be more surprised if one of Volkswagen’s top execs didn’t know about the rigged technology installed in over 10 million diesel vehicles to make them appear a lot cleaner than they really were.
Yet news today that Michael Horn, the President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, knew about the dishonest practice for a year and a half and decided to sweep it under the rug is as maddening as anything that’s come out about the VW scandal over the past few weeks.
“In the spring of 2014 … I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied,” said Horn in a written testimony to U.S. Congress. Horn obviously took no steps to remedy this non-compliance considering there was an 18-month period between his awareness of it and news of the cover-up making headlines around the world.
The scandal is by far the largest in the company’s 78-year history and has wiped more than a third off its share price – not a good way to follow up being crowned the world’s largest automaker just a few months prior. Costs are piling up daily as VW endures a barrage of lawsuits and fines, with some estimates hovering around $50 billion.
A large portion of that bill will come from the resources committed to refitting the millions of rigged vehicles that are on the market, some of which were still being sold in Canada as recently as two weeks ago.
Horn, meanwhile, is expected to announce at a congressional hearing later today that no 2016 diesel models will be sold in the United States.
He said he takes full responsibility for the company’s actions…and will probably hold onto his job, not face criminal charges, and still receive an end-of-year bonus.