UK boss is joined by VW engineer Oliver Schmidt to provide explanations and updates regarding the ongoing emissions scandal

VW UK boss Paul Willis has denied that the company has an unethical culture and has not done enough to provide fixes for the ongoing emissions scandal.

Speaking at the Transport Select Committee for the third time, Willis, joined by VW engineer Oliver Schmidt, explained software that enabled VW models to cheat emissions tests was developed by a “small number of employees” in the drivetrain department. Willis refuted claims that the company had acted in an unethical manner, emphasising that the team he’s responsible for in the UK was completely uninvolved.

“I can categorically say that neither I or my employees [in the UK] had any idea that this was going on,” he said. “We have nothing to do with engine development. I am very clear on that."

Read more - VW emissions scandal latest

When asked about what was being done to investigate who was to blame, Willis answered: “There’s over 100 terabytes of information to go through. We’ve employed Jones Day and other legal advisers – as many as 450 individuals - to trawl through 1500 employees' devices. We know from what we’ve found so far that it’s clear that some of the work processes need to be improved." Willis said more details on the investigation would be available in April.

Schmidt, who was not part of the drivetrain team when the offending software was written, explained it was the lack of quality control that allowed a few engineers to develop the offending software.

“The base code is now checked by quality insurance," said Schmidt. "Before, it was developed in engineering and then put into production. There was no quality assurance that looked into the source code of the inboard computers. Now the quality assurance looks into the source code before the software is encrypted."

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Asked why the problem was the same in Europe and America, he went on to confirm that “the team that develops software for the US and European markets is the same”.

Transport Committee members continually labelled VW’s offending software as featuring a defeat device, but both VW representatives maintained that the software did not constitute one. Instead, they explained the software that recognises a car is being tested is not illegal according to European law, but software that changes emissions levels is.

In reference to the technical fixes which will be used to bring affected cars in line with emissions standards, Schmidt said: “The software update is removing the software that recognised the testing, but there is no difference in any other time. In fact, there is a small improvement in real-world driving due to advances in technology [since the original software was written]."

Join the debate


25 January 2016
In other words, It wasn't anything to do with me...I'll just wash my hands of this one, and we'll employ a shit load of lawyers to f'ck you over if you try to come back to us, oh and here's my two finger salute...

25 January 2016
Marc wrote:

oh and here's my two finger salute...

The same salute the company keep showing to their (misguided) loyal customers.... What a load of hot air and hair-splitting from these VW guys. They're still trying to blame this on a small group of 'rogue' employees, but everyone knows how autocratic VW's management is so this deceit obviously came from the top. And we know that the software only operated during testing and made "no difference in any other time" Isn't that the whole point?

25 January 2016
Anyone else noticed that the VW banner ads on feature the VW Tiguan R-Line either sliding backwards downhill or disappearing through a hole in the ground ... either of which make good metaphors for the state of VW right now.


25 January 2016
I think you are exaggerating the situation, I reckon this will be all but forgotten within a couple of months in the UK.
Once all the chancers who thought they were on to a 'nice little earner' realise there just isn't going to be any 'pay-out' it will be business as usual....I mean, what else are you going to buy in this section of the market....something from France or Italy...No? I thought not.
Kia is the only brand to really make ground through all this mess, but most German car owners will find that Kia still doesn't have that quality feel inside which they have become used to...good though Kia's are.

26 January 2016
That is questionable. A read through the Audi forums on the new A3 reveals a lack of quality with owners complaining of rattles and not great build quality. It may look smart to the eye but not deep in though it seems. Our second car an Audi A3 convertible certainly has more rattles than the Focus on the drive.


25 January 2016
The UK government should go for VW, Audi, Seat, Porsche, Skoda for the industrial lies, but they wont just as banks got away with it and we are all paying they will make a noise and not actually do anything. A very large company with a major ego and some very poor internal audit and governance structures, complacency breeds poor control. The UK has nothing to loose as they don't build any of their cars or engines in the UK other than Bentley and they are hardly cars for the masses.
VW group should cough up (pardon the pun !)

25 January 2016
Ethics is not a word many would use in relation to the Volkswagen even before the Americans exposed their diesel fraud. How did the Volkswagen reply? Simple. They denied. For one whole year. Only when the Americans refused to ratify the new Passat, Volkswagen admitted foul play.
Ethics is not a word that translates well in the Volkswagen town of Wolfsburg. Then the Americans found the 3L diesel in the Porsche and Audi SUVs cheats. How did Volkswagen reply? Obviously. They denied. Now Volkswagen UK boss is repeating this mantra. The world has seen Volkswagen with its pants down around its ankles but why admit?


25 January 2016
...not gonna buy a diseasel.

25 January 2016
It will all come out in the end. Clearly, it seems there is a problem within the engineering and management culture at VW. If you can't trust them not to cheat in emissions testing how can you take their word that they haven't done the same with safety? It is still possible that they won't survive this in any recognisable form. VW group cars are certainly off my shopping list for a long while.

25 January 2016
There are other things which point to the ethics of VW like the fact curtain airbags are a costly option when they are standard on many rivals, saying that I don't think they are any worse or better on this front than their rivals. In other words they are all the same for example why would any market and manufacture a car that does not at least get a 5 star euroncap rating or get a good on the IIHS small overlap crash test.


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