The Emission Cheating Scandal: An Ethical Dilemma

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Apparently, the emission cheating catastrophe presents an ethical dilemma. The company deliberately engaged in programming turbo-charged direct injection diesel engines with the intention of activating particular emission controls just in the course of the testing of laboratory emissions. Fundamentally, the programming led to the car’s nitrogen oxide satisfying the United States standards in the course of regulatory testing. However, it emits as high as forty times more nitrogen oxide when the vehicles start traveling. The company inserted the software in approximately eleven million vehicles globally, and in a half a million vehicles in the U.S, in the course of the model period starting from 2009 up to 2015 (2017).

            Notably, the stakeholders encompass the people who bought the cars trusting that the corporation’s promises, the government officials who greatly depended on the testing information, the public that had reliance on taking in pure air, and the stockholder who witnessed their share price depreciate by thirty percent after the revealing of the shame.

Role of Management and Technology Factors


In the year 2007, Volkswagen made a decision to drop a pollution-control technology, which Bosch and Mercedes-Benz developed, and instead utilized its own technology that was developed internally. Apparently, this occur at the same time the company’s CEO began to pressure the managers with increased target for the United States vehicle market. However, it is not clear who in the company’s management was responsible for making such a decision. The Lawsuits by Massachusetts and New York have charged that seven managers and engineers, including the CEO, were involved. The company turned out to be the focus of regulatory investigations within several nations, and its stock price dropped in value by thirty percent a short period after the cheating being revealed (Laudon, 2017)


To expand the market share, Volkswagen was supposed to set up bigger cars, which Americans favoured. Moreover, the company was supposed to abide by President Barrack Obama’s toughening standards regarding mileage. All car manufacturers came up with strategies intended to meet the fresh mileage standards, and the focus of Volkswagen was on diesel. Nevertheless, diesel engines, other than offering improved mileage, as well emit additional smog, polluting the air more than the conventional engines.

            Cheating regarding emissions tests served to solve several problems. Vehicles that were fitted with the cheating software helped to deliver improved performance and mileage, while Volkswagen evaded paying cumbersome and costly pollution-control systems. Volkswagen began to install the software with the intention of cheating emissions tests in the year 2008 after coming to learn that the fresh diesel engine build at a high cost for its expansion strategy, certainly could help in meeting pollution criteria, both in the United States and in other nations. Instead of discontinuing to produce and carry out R&D, the company made a decision to cheat.


The company was capable of continuing to cheat for several years since the software was concealed in software code’s lines. The diesel-driven vehicles utilize engine management software, as well as sensors with the intention of limiting and monitoring the levels of emissions. Fundamentally, the software is capable of controlling the amount of nitrogen oxide is produced in the course of combustion by the vehicle’s mix of oxygen and diesel fuel.

Public Inspection of Software-controlling Machines

            The Whole of the automobile industry is found to have a history of making attempts to rig the mileage and emissions data that started the moment governments started to regulate emission in 1970s. The automobile makers have as well utilized and manoeuvres to show better gas mileage and performance. For instance, they have been taping car grillers and doors to improve aerodynamics, or ensuring test vehicles are made lighter doing away with the back seats (Mansouri, 2016). The emissions scandal had we sparked debates concerning how to handle other types of software-controlled machinery, other than automobiles. Markedly, there is a common belief that such machines can always be vulnerable to deceitfulness, and the software source code is supposed to be accessed by the public.  


Laudon, C. (2017). Volkswagen Pollutes Its Reputation With Software To Cheat Emissions Testing. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Mansouri, N. (2016). A Case Study of Volkswagen Unethical Practice in Diesel Emission Test. International Journal of Science and Engineering Applications, 5(4), 211-216.

October 30, 2023

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