Car Industry

Volkswagen said to have put cheating how-to in PowerPoint presentation

There's brazen, and then there's this.

Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/Corbis
Volkswagen's Transparent Factory

Just a heads up to anyone wishing to pull the same b.s.: Delete your PowerPoints.

Arno Burgi/dpa/Corbis

If you want to keep something a secret, it's probably a good idea to not put it in a PowerPoint slideshow. That's reportedly what happened at Volkswagen, as the company included what amounts to a "cheating how-to" in one of its presentations discussing diesel strategy in the US.

According to sources speaking to The New York Times, the how-to was included in part of a 2006 presentation on how to certify its diesel vehicles in the United States. Apparently, it was more or less known that its diesel vehicles were over-polluting by regulatory standards and so a method was devised to cheat the tests.

As it turns out, the defeat device was quite effective. For years, Volkswagen diesels equipped with special software would pass US testing procedures, only to open up the flood gates and pollute like mad once the cars were on the road. The software was able to decipher when the car was undergoing testing and it would alter its emissions strategy to match.

Volkswagen did not immediately return a request for comment on the PowerPoint.

Eventually, the company would admit to using that software to willfully deceive regulators around the world. Some 11 million vehicles carry this software, and it's currently the subject of several lawsuits in the US, some of which are coming from the government and others coming from owners themselves.