"Did Privilege Enable VW's Diesel Deception?"

That is the title of a current Business Week article about VW’s…unique…relationship with the government in Germany. When the EU was formed, partial government ownership of companies was outlawed–with the exception of VW–and to this day, the state of Lower Saxony still owns 20% of the company and sits on one of its two boards of directors.

Business Week asks the question of whether this unusual style of management might have contributed to VW’s poor management, and to their recently-revealed deception. I think that this is an interesting, and thought-provoking, read:


Of course. They are a very large company and make lots of money. Sorry…I didn’t read the article. I don’t like Bloomberg and others like them especially the Huffington Post which I despise. I did read somewhere that the new CEO of VW, Matthias Mueller, who replaces Martin Winterkorn pledged that “we will overcome this crisis” and vowed to restore confidence through “an unsparing investigation and maximum transparency”. Until the next time…is what I’m hearing from that statement.

When did the board of directors get into the day to day actions of the company? I can believe that Lower Saxony guided policy for the company, but directing software development to modify emissions durng tests is far fetched. If there is a conspiracy, it is more likely an attempt to blame government for whatever goes wrong. There are several large issues that were the sole responsibility of the company (Toyota, GM, Takata, the list goes on). Did you notice that Bloomberg said we aren’t blaming Lower Saxony, you we will plant the seeds of doubt anyway. How long has Lower Saxony been beating its wife, anyway? Governments have enough problems that they are truly to blame for. We don’t need to fabricate more just because we can.

I mirror missleman in the dislike of Bloomberg and the Huff. Of course VW has a long history embeded with the gov. Remember it was Hitler who wanted the peoples car to begin with that spawned the Beetle. But just sitting on the board and owning a large chunk of stock these days I don’t know makes a whole lot of difference. Remember there is not hardly a mutual fund, or government pension fund around that doesn’t have billions at stake in car companies and other industries. So the pressure to be profitable comes from all sides. And of course the government after all is us.

Privilege, maybe; arrogance definitely. Many big powerful companies become so inbred that they think they can get away with just about anything. At a reception I once met a manager with the local phone company. I voiced a service problem, and he plainly told me: " we don’t really care because we have a monopoly"

Some older posters will remember the Laugh-In spoof on the “telephone company” (AT&T) by Lily Tomlin.

Her opening line " I am Ernestine form the telephone company and I am omnipotent. That’s Potent with an Omni in front"

When it comes to arrogance, few companies have exceeded GM over the years.

Is there a news source that isn’t connected to and supporting the agenda of one cause or another? From my local paper to the various news networks every source is predisposd to support some cause.

As for the Volkswagen debacle I imagine that as so often happens someone in lower/middle management felt forced to make some stop gap measures while desperately hoping to find a workable solution. As time passed with no solution knowledge of the deception filtered upward but profits strongly deterred anyone from taking action. I have seen similar situations unfold in corporations and for the most part I avoid dealing with corporations.