I just caught this news. (& lots of background info linked)
The short story:
Since 2009 VW cheated on its emissions testing in the USA by adding provision in its “clean diesel” engine management system to detect when it was being tested by government regulators, and kick in its emissions reduction settings - but most of the time it didn’t, so that VW owners could enjoy the performance &/or mileage you get from not not having to compromise those attributes for lower emissions (particularly NOx, nitrous oxide, which promotes smog formation & the greater impact on public health that comes with emissions that become smog).
They were finally caught, after private/community investigators continued to measure vastly different emissions compared to the government-measured emissions test results.
The threat of VW’s financial annihilation is palpable, and deserved.
I’m not shocked to hear yet another story of the amoral rules of capitalism sparring with environmental regulations, making a gamble that they won’t get caught, and if they do it simply gets accounted as “the cost of doing business”, tho make no mistake I view that approach to business with the contempt it deserves, and I think you should too.
But what I find most concerning is that professionals in my industry - embedded systems engineers, who blend hardware and software/firmware to make things that do stuff in the real world that has the potential to harm people or the environment - who bought into a culture at VW that allowed them to put aside their professional (& one would hope, personal) ethics and implement the policy VW’s senior management undertook.
Have none of them heard of Wikileaks?
IMHO they’re as culpable as VW’s senior management.