Bernd Osterloh, chairman of VW’s work council and a member of the executive committee, said: “A small group has done damage to our company. We need a climate where mistakes are not hidden. Müller and Osterloh were speaking at a press conference to unveil the new boss of the troubled German carmaker.Some of the heads were near the top too, with the directors of development (chief engineers) at VW, Audi, Ulrich Hackenberg and Porsche, Wolfgang Hatz being given their leave as well as the VW chief in the US
This alone would be taken with a small dose of salts, but news from California has it that testing there was tightly monitored and controlled by a number of high ups in the VW management team, closely linked to the recently retired CEO Martin Winterkorn. It looks like the California testing team is leaking early to avoid being pushed in front of the diesel bus
But electron trails extend far today, and Bild am Sonntag (paywall) has a letter to VW from Bosch, the supplier of VWs engine control software and emissions systems, written in 2007 warning VW that it would be illegal to use Bosch's software to control emissions systems in cars that they sold, but that it was given to VW for testing purposes only.
This clears up the question of where the software came from.
What happened is also a bit clearer. The diesel engines in question were developed in 2006 to improve VWs performance in the US market. The development team wanted to use the AdBlue system to control NOx emissions which would cost ~ €300 for each car. The pencil pushers said no. Diesels were expensive enough.
At about that time Martin Winterkorn took over at VW which was having a tough time and his job was to control costs. The original design team was sidetracked. Hackenberg and Hatz took over, two of the development directors asked to leave yesterday.