“We have broken the trust of our customers and the public”, said former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn in September 2015 following the discovery of 11 million Volkswagens having been involved in falsified emission reports.
While the rest of the diesel scandal – oft referred to as ‘diesel gate’ – is now written in history, this is the story of how the world’s largest carmaker that had built an enviable reputation based on its diesel engines has moved forward since its dramatic fall from grace.
At this point, it would typically be the case that things turn sour for an automotive manufacturer like Volkswagen. Following huge sums of money paid in fines to the tune of multiple billions of dollars, one might have expected the company to decline and ultimately expire without further mention. That didn’t happen.
Instead, Volkswagen has held onto its market share, though diesel sales have naturally taken a bit of a dive. The reality is Volkswagen makes popular vehicles and those are more than just the sum of their parts, or power sources, alone.
A new chapter
Not only for Volkswagen, but electrification also represents an enormous opportunity for manufacturers to rewrite the rule books. While governments were quite happy for car