While the Volkswagen executive is ultimately responsible for engine development during this crucial period, it is actually Wolfgang Hatz that is the center of the company's emissions-cheating scandal. However, it remains unclear whether he or the executives above him knew about the cheating that has taken place.
In 2007, Wolfgang Hatz had only taken over the engine development at Volkswagen for a few months and had already faced a potential challenge. Many regulators were seeking to reduce global-warming gases released by automobiles every day. This step had yet to be taken in the United States at the time. Wolfgang had suggested many times that such a task would be impossible and even stated "From my point of view, the CARB is not realistic" of the California Air Resources Board. These remarks can still be found on an auto website during a technology demonstration hosted by Volkswagen.
Volkswagen Admitting To The Scandal
During September of this year, Volkswagen admitted to installing software that was designed to cheat on emissions tests which has set off one of the largest corporate scandals in the industry's history. After the reveal of the scandal, Wolfgang was one of the first employees to be suspended by the company after the crisis broke out.
This scandal has been especially bad because Volkswagen had purposely put in a device that could cheat emission tests and had allowed the emission levels of their Volkswagen cars to reach 10 to 40 times the legal limit. The emission from these vehicles alone are responsible for increasing the ground level ozone pollution and worsening the physical health of everyone that came in contact with the emission cheating vehicles. Volkswagen has since suffered heavy losses in sales. November sales alone have decreased by 25 percent. This has especially harmed small cars that were involved in the scandal.
Wolfgang Hatz’s Involvement In The Scandal
While Wolfgang Hatz was a leading advocate for diesel, he had spoken out in the past about the struggle to meet regulations in the U.S. market. Hatz’s elevation has come during a bitter internal clash about the kind of emission technology that Volkswagen needs to use to ensure the company’s diesels would comply with the tougher U.S. emissions standards. It is believed that this clash is what ultimately led to the company to cheat on the emissions tests.
However, it is unclear whether Hatz or the executives above him were aware of or had directly caused the cheating that took place.
Recent Statements From Volkswagen
Earlier this month, Volkswagen explained that the emissions cheating was due to less expensive diesel-emissions technology that could not meet the clean air requirements of the U.S. In order to avoid having to scale back, the company’s ambitions led to a few executives’ decision to cheat on their emission tests. Volkswagen has currently refused to name executives stating that the evidence against them was not solid enough.
Only time can tell how this scandal will end or whether a solution will be found for those who continue to own these emission-cheating vehicles. According to a study, Volkswagen’s emission cheating cars have already been found responsible for several American deaths due to bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. Not to mention the amount of ground level pollution has been added since the use of their emission cheating device..