Corporate Integrity | What Lessons Can We Learn From the Volkswagen Debacle?

Past event

Margery Reed Hall, Room 113, Reiman Theater

The Volkswagen debacle cost Volkswagen AG more than $20B in fines and reparations in the US alone. VW customers endured untold amounts in lost value, inconvenience and disappointment that they were neither reducing exhaust emission, nor getting the fuel economy touted by the company. Volkswagen continued to spew tons of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere while they were telling the world they were not. This was an extraordinarily costly mistake not only financially, but also in terms of corporate reputation, dealer and customer relations, industry status and business strategy.

What practical lessons can companies learn from this historic blunder? How can other companies avoid such pitfalls? Were there advance warnings or signals of what was about to happen in Wolfsburg? Where should the blame be placed? With the engineers? The c-suite? The board? With everyone at VW? What factors and forces should other company's executives be paying greater attention to so as to avoid such a disaster?

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The Volkswagen debacle cost Volkswagen AG more than $20B in fines and reparations in the US alone. VW customers endured untold amounts in lost value, inconvenience and disappointment that they were neither reducing exhaust emission, nor getting the fuel economy touted by the company. Volkswagen continued to spew tons of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere while they were telling the world they were not. This was an extraordinarily costly mistake not only financially, but also in terms of corporate reputation, dealer and customer relations, industry status and business strategy.

What practical lessons can companies learn from this historic blunder? How can other companies avoid such pitfalls? Were there advance warnings or signals of what was about to happen in Wolfsburg? Where should the blame be placed? With the engineers? The c-suite? The board? With everyone at VW? What factors and forces should other company's executives be paying greater attention to so as to avoid such a disaster?

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