The 24-hour news cycle almost feels like a 12-hour news cycle these days, so it seems reasonable to assume that most people don't really keep in touch with every little detail of every little event. For many politicians, superstars, and corporations, that fact is a saving grace.
After all, when the next big international crisis is just a few hours away, scandals like Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating come across as par for the course. And that's exactly how VW's executives would love to keep things when it comes to Dieselgate.
The details that have come to light since news first broke of potentially cheating vehicles in 2015 have gone from bad to worse. And Dieselgate isn't even the only scandal under VW's belt! Keep scrolling for 15 shady facts Volkswagen executives want to keep off the record and very hush-hush.
15 Porsche Diesels
Volkswagen may as well accept that just about everyone has heard of Dieselgate by this point. But what the company's executives definitely want to keep on the down-low is that the scandal wasn't just limited to Volkswagen models. VAG as a whole also owns Porsche, and the 3.0-liter V6 diesel used by Porsche was also cheating emissions testing.
14 Audi Diesels
It should come as no surprise that if Volkswagen was cheating on their cars, the other companies under their umbrella corporation, VAG, were doing exactly the same thing. Besides VW and Porsche, Audi's diesel engines also came under investigator scrutiny, specifically the 3.0-liter V6 that is shared with those used by Porsche.
Hopefully, most members of the general public know that Volkswagen's enormous Dieselgate scandal resulted in enormous strain for the company. Fewer people, however, might realize that the investigation actually led to arrests of members of VAG including Rupert Stadler, Audi's Chief Executive, and Oliver Schmidt, who was formerly the head of emissions compliance for VW in the USA.
12 Huge Fines
Most people probably presume that Volkswagen had to shell out big time to get out of the scandal. After all, throwing money at problems seems to make them go away these days. But VW execs probably don't want the public to know just how big the fines have gotten. All in all, the scandal's total is now above $20 billion!
Many Volkswagen owners swore they'd keep their cars through the emissions scandal because they just loved their MPGs. But others were happy to hear that VW might enact a buyback program. But the buybacks were a bit of a scandal themselves when VW paid North American owners much more than European owners.
The main way that Volkswagen somehow managed to get away with not having to pay European customers as much to compensate for their crimes was by arguing that the cars didn't lose any actual value after the news broke. In the US, apparently, consumer confidence tanked—but not so in Europe, at least so argued Volkswagen.
9 The "Updated" Software
Much like a kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, Volkswagen's executives seemingly refused to learn their lesson. Rather than confess fully and openly, the investigation plodded through the whole of VAG's operations. Later, when VW claimed to have enacted a fix on the emissions cheating software, it turned out the "updated" vehicles were still cheating!
8 Baking In The Sun
Somewhat to their credit, Volkswagen did enact a massive buyback and overhaul program for owners of their so-called "clean diesel" vehicles. But even to this day, four years after the news first broke in September 2015, massive parking lots of VAG products are crammed with cars awaiting a fix. And those cars are parked outdoors, baking in the sun and freezing in the snow.
7 Still Selling
Volkswagen has been allowed to begin selling many of the models affected by Dieselgate once more—with emissions fixes (hopefully). And demand has proven high for the TDI cars, thanks to their legendary reliability and MPG ratings. But most buyers don't realize the cars VW is selling have been sitting around for years and years, rotting while being exposed to the elements.
6 Touareg Reliability
Turning away from the massive Dieselgate scandal that rocked Volkswagen, the company definitely has some other skeletons in their closet, as well. One major detail that VW executives would love to keep hidden is the notorious lack of reliability for their primary SUV on the market, the Touareg. Seen above, the entire engine has to be dropped for most mechanical problems.
5 Shared Platforms
Of course, if the Touareg has reliability problems (which it famously does), the problem probably spreads over to its siblings, the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7. Now, there's no arguing against the fact that these three SUV models helped to bring VAG to the forefront of the industry as people grew to love SUVs in general, but mechanics also love the Cayenne, Q7, and Touareg because they can charge so much for repairs.
4 GM Trade Secrets
Volkswagen's largest scandal is undoubtedly the diesel emissions problems that they created. However, the massive corporation has also been rocked by some other nefarious charges. One major instance was when an exec from GM, Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, defected to VW and took a huge amount of trade secrets along with him.
Roger Goodell famously took the NFL from non-profit tax status to for-profit, and theories abounded that he mostly wanted to avoid disclosing executive compensation packages. Similarly, Volkswagen's executives probably don't want people to realize just how much money the company makes. Year-on-year comparisons before and after Dieselgate show that they're still raking in billions and billions of dollars.
The fancy lives of corporate executives often get portrayed badly in the media, as they hobnob around the world in private helicopters or get caught golfing in Florida while The Bahamas gets torn apart by a hurricane. Amid the opulence lies a car company known as Bugatti, which even allowed their brand to be used as a symbol of 1% power in the Matt Damon film Elysium. But VW execs probably don't want the average customer to realize that Bugatti is another VAG subsidiary, as is Bentley.
1 The People's Car
Most people know that Volkswagen translated roughly to "The People's Car" in English. And the Volkswagen Beetle is truly a car built for the people. But VW execs have two things they want to cover up about the original Bug: that Ferdinand Porsche created it before he essentially beefed it up into a Porsche and exactly who "The People" were at that time in Germany.
Sources: Washington Post, Wikipedia, and Consumer Reports.