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EDITORIAL |  FULL ARTICLE 
Volkswagen-gate scandal - Smoking gun
Peter Schmidt | Editor

Published: Wed, 23rd Septmeber 2015 13:46:19 GMT
 

VW Golf Clean Diesel USA

Open quote signCheating seems to be a relevant term only when one is caught in the act. Otherwise it is viewed as intelligence, no?” 

Nothing new here. 

Whether in private relationships, business or politics, bending the rules for your own gain or telling the occasional lie to smooth the career path is probably as old as humanity. 

In the real world, business and politics are no exceptions, the crucial question prior to the act is whether you can break these rules without getting caught.

No debate, apart from saints perhaps, rules are broken on a daily basis. 

Surely, to seek out and act on ways to circumvent rules that are likely to harm business is not only a sign of both cunning and wise business sense. 

Moreover, it is also the responsibility of any business leader to seek out alternative avenues. 

Nothing new here. 

Take tax avoidance. 

It may be greatly unethical to some, but if no laws are broken, thanks to bright and highly experienced specialists in this particular field, companies are at their liberty to minimise the burden of tax.

Volkswagen Group’s bigwigs get paid to maximise profits, and in full conformity with that task they are confronted daily by hurdles that have to be crossed at the lowest acceptable cost. 

However, to cross these hurdles, there is a fine line between the exploitation of legal loopholes and downright white collar crime. 

The Volkswagen-gate scandal – emission test cheating – clearly falls into the latter category and is not to be confused with the intelligent use of legal loopholes. 

To its credit, VW was wise to quickly admit that it broke prevailing laws when knowingly fitting specialist software into some of its diesel cars to bypass US environmental standards.

This is not a cavalier misdemeanor. 

In any book, that’s a blatant and deliberate act of breaking ruling US environmental standards with a cunningly written piece of software to deceive US exhaust emission standards. 

In consequence, Volkswagen will pay a heavy price. 

Those earning their living in the global autoindustry are not in the least surprised by this latest autoindustry scandal. 

Likewise, these tricks of the trade, intended to bypass rules of all sorts, are by no means limited to the US market. 

Little doubt, deliberate efforts to deceive legislators are used no less so on this side of the Atlantic. 

No surprise there. 

Given the commercial and economic significance of the autoindustry in terms of commerce and trade, plus the fact that in markets like Germany the industry is one of the biggest employers and foreign currency earners, also means that politicians and their legislators will no doubt turn a blind eye to some of the iffy methods employed by the blue-eyed leaders of their powerful auto industry. 

Little doubt, at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters the proverbial s*** has finally hit the fan in a very big way. 

But I for one believe that the spluttering mess will stick not only to VW’s bigwigs. 

Likelihood is that some of VW’s rivals, if not the entire industry, could, and probably will also be hit. 

And most of it will stick for some time. First to get caught in the act, Volkswagen will take the biggest hit
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