I have a bug in my ear. And not a VW Bug.
The VW scandal is baffling enough. Did anyone seriously believe that a clever scheme that fooled emissions testing equipment would remain secret? The utter stupidity of this scheme is almost greater than the fraud itself.
In terms of immorality I don’t believe VWs misconduct can be compared to that of General Motors, whose employees willfully ignored reports of a faulty ignition switch. That misconduct appears to have cost lives.
By contrast, the software engineers over at VW were merely playing a little adolescent game.
Thank God one of the engineers at VW had the presence of mind to take a selfie video while they were designing how to circumvent those pesky little emissions rules. You’d think the cameraman would have been more careful about airing dirty laundry, but hey, it’s not as dirty as the exhaust pipe, right?
Here’s the transcript:
Friedrich: Wil. Herr Kommandant. Do you think anybody will find out about this?
Wilhelm: Are you kidding?! Have you seen one of these testing garages? They just want to move the cars in and out. For a cool 20 euros they’ll pass a farting cow!
Friedrich: I don’t know. Something about this makes me squirm.
Wilhelm: Vas? Because a few diesel cars are putting out a few more CO2 molecules? Nobody’s getting hurt, right?
Hans: Exactly, Herr Kommandant. Besides, everybody does it. Look at the bankers over at Barclays. So they reported phony LIBOR trades. Sure it cost people money. But nobody was hurt.
Gunter: And look at those solar developers, telling their customers that they will save millions in future energy costs. If their customers believe they can predict the future, so what? Would anybody stop them from selling crystal balls?
Hans: Or Ouija Boards?
Wilhelm: Or astrological charts? Of course not!
Hans: And what about Whole Foods short-weighing its customers?
Wilhelm: That’s LOL funny! Customers are already paying an arm and a leg for a bag of lettuce. Do you think they really care if they pay a dime more for the plastic bag?
Hans: Wunderbar! Nobody gets hurt. It’s a beautiful thing.
Gunter: Remember Chrysler in the 80’s? When they disconnected the odometers on 60,000 cars and drove them around for 400 miles? Who cared?
Hans: Darn. I wish we had thought about that.
Friedrich: It might have saved the VW bus!
Wilhelm: So let’s get on with it, shall we? Schnell, schnell! We’ve got numbers we have to hit.
Friedrich: Jawohl, Herr Kommandant. Who said diesel was for weasels? Let’s move these cars out the door!