Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions

Corporate Corruption

Netflix original documentary series Dirty Money dropped its first season January 26, 2018.

#DirtyMoney has not yet been renewed for a second season.

rottentomatoes: 100%

metacritic: 80

imdb: 8.2




Donald Trump, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions

Donald Trump


Donald Trump, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions “A luxury brand.  I think it’s a brand where people know we get things done.  It’s a very successful brand.  And it does well.  Yeah.” — Donald Trump

“I obviously have credibility because I now, as it turns out, became the Republican nominee.  People have said there’s never been anything like this.” — Donald Trump

“Well, we did it.  I’ve spent my entire life in business.  This is now what I wanna do for our country.  And, yes, we will make America great again.” — Donald Trump

“I think that, much like the mind, I think that America is using very, very little of its potential.  I feel that this country, with the proper leadership, can go on to become what it once was.  And I hope, and certainly hope, that it does go on to be what it should be.  Maybe I’d run for president.  I don’t know.” — Donald Trump

“It has not been easy for me, and I started off in Brooklyn.  My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.  I came into Manhattan.  I don’t need anybody’s money.  I’m really rich.  I’ll show you that in a second.” — Donald Trump

“Probably, it’s the greatest thing the city ever did, and I think the city is the first to acknowledge it.  It now, from a real estate standpoint, has probably become the hottest city in the world.  And I guess a lot of things had to do with it.  Mostly, I feel , it was the psychology of making New York a winner, as opposed to a loser.” — Donald Trump

“No, I just have a certain amount of confidence, that if I want to do something, I can do it.” — Donald Trump

“At Trump University, we teach success.  That’s what it’s all about.  Success.” — Donald Trump


Alex Gibney, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions

Alex Gibney

Alex Gibney examines a corporate scandal in which Volkswagen utilizes a ‘defeat device’ to tamper with their greenhouse gas emissions tests.  Ultimately Volkswagen pleads guilty to three felonies and is forced to reconcile over $25 billion in fines.


“I thought I had found the perfect car.  The VW Diesel Jetta Wagon.  The ad sucked me in.  It was the only car that seemed to have it all.  drove like a sports car… wasn’t too expensive, got great mileage, and unlike diesels of the past, it was clean.  I was beaming with pride as I drove around the suburbs or commuted to New York City.  What I didn’t know was that I was driving a killing machine.  When I first heard about the scandal, I was furious.  VW had lied to me.  They had pitched me a vision of my dream car, but sold me my worst nightmare.  A car that was polluting 50 times more than advertised.  Weirdly, I was listening to NPR when my own name came up in an interview with a PR expert, on how VW could make things right.  Fuck Volkswagen.  There was no way VW was gonna give me access to look at the scandal, but the promo did get me worked up.  Angry as I was, it didn’t begin to describe the fury my wife felt.  She stopped driving the car entirely.  Though she had pasted ‘namaste’ on our bumper sticker, a yoga term for ‘bowing to the divine in others,’ she had visions of marching in to the local VW dealership with a chainsaw.” — Alex Gibney

“Okay, my wife is way too nice to think about killing the local dealers.  But she wanted the car out of our lives.  The question she was asking, and I was, too, was, ‘how could this have happened?  How could a company hae lied to its customers on such a massive scale?’  I decided to look into the scandal.  What I would discover was much darker and more vast than anything I had imagined.” — Alex Gibney

“Okay, it’s usually a cheap shot to bring up Hitler, but when it came to VW, he’s the man that jump-started the company back in the 1930s.” — Alex Gibney

“So there was nothing here?  It’s a massive factory.  Really?  Uh-huh.  So, this is all employee housing in here?  How does it rank in terms of the largest factories in the world?  It is.  Wow.  You’d been at Volkswagen for a long time.  When the news broke about the cheating scandal, what was your reaction?” — Alex Gibney

“VW declined to give us a tour of Wolfsburg.  So, I sought out the help of Walter Groth, a consultant on corporate culture, who’d worked for 20 years as an executive for Volkswagen.” — Alex Gibney

“For VW, the road to global dominance had always led through America.  In the ’60s, sales hit new highs, when VW flew the freak flag for the counterculture.  The Bug was a real people’s car, mechanically simple and down-to-earth.  You could be high on mescaline and still shift gears or repair the engine.  And the bus was a crash pad on wheels.  But VW didn’t keep up with the times.  As the counterculture gave way to the Reagan era,   VW didn’t innovate and its sales dropped as fast as the quality of its cars.” — Alex Gibney

“The savior for VW was Ferdinand Piëch.  The grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Piëch was professionally and personally productive.  He sired 12 children with four different women.  He also infused VW with a new DNA.  The new TDI.  It arrived with a hip new ad campaign.  A diesel that was fun to drive, powerful and clean.  The basics of diesel and gas engines are the same.  A series of explosions move the pistons, which turn down the drive shaft.  Diesel fuel is much more efficient than gas and produces much less carbon dioxide.  But diesel fuel exhaust disgorges much nastier stuff.  Particulate matter and nitrogen oxide, called NOx, that causes air pollution and damages human lungs.  This is personal for me.  When my family was living in the NOx-filled smog of Southern California, my daughter developed exercise-induced asthma.  When she was playing soccer in high school, she collapsed in front of me from lack of oxygen.  NOx is not good.  To keep the efficiency of diesel, but to cut down NOx, manufacturers like VW tried to create NOx traps that caught and burned the stuff before it left the tailpipe.  But the special parts needed were expensive, and had to be replaced every few thousand miles.  Yet they were the only way to meet the NOx pollution standards set in the US, which were much more strict than in Europe.” — Alex Gibney

“Solving that problem in the US was critical for the strategy of the man who would eventually be tapped to follow Piëch as the head of VW, Martin Winterkorn.  Determined to conquer the American market, VW built a new green factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  To comply with American pollution standards, VW retooled its product line and introduced a new clean diesel, TDI.  Its pitch to Americans was captivating.  Cars that were low-cost, low-pollution, got good mileage and were fun to drive.  Perfect.  With its new green profile, VW’s CEO boasted about its new-found commitment to social responsibility.  I was one of those people who stood up and cheered.  I was proud to own a VW.  Auto experts were cheering too.  Somehow, VW seemed to have solved a problem no one else could: how to clean up dirty diesel engines in small, low-priced cars.  Vw’s solution to the diesel problem caught the attention of a group focused on clean transportation.  They studied VW diesels not to see if they were bad, but why they were so good.  And whether the US cars could serve as a model for other companies.  The man in charge of the group was an American named John German.” — Alex Gibney

“German needed to find someone to test what was coming out of the tailpipes of the cars, first in the lab and then on the road.  The contract went to a group at the University of West Virginia.  Car geeks who wanted to see if clean diesel was for real in any kind of car.  ARvind Thiruvengadam was part of the team that did the diesel pollution test for John German.  They focused on European diesels being sold in the US.  During the road test, the VW TDI was sending up to 40 times more NOx into the air than the VW lab test numbers.  To avoid retaliation by VW, German first revealed his findings in 2014 in San Diego, in a small academic conference.  In the audience were a handful of VW executives.  They must’ve realized for the first time that investigators were on their trail.  But German was careful not to call out VW when it came to publishing results.” — Alex Gibney

“The agencies Johnson tried to manage were the EPA and California regulators.  Following the San Diego presentation, California did its own tests.  They confirmed the West Virginia results.  Inside the lab, the pollution emitted by the cars was well within government limits.  But on the road, NOx levels were dangerously high.  That caught the attention of Alberto Ayala at the California Air Resources Board, known as CARB.  CARB was asking tough questions, and back in Wolfsburg, executives were terrified that honest answers would reveal a long trail of deceit.  CEO Martin Winterkorn received an urgent e-mail from VW’s head of quality management, Frank Tuch.  ‘A thorough explanation of the dramatic increase in NOx emissions cannot be given to the authorities.  It can be assumed that the authorities will then investigate whether Volkswagen implemented a so-called defeat device.  Rather than come clean, VW though its only alternative was to stall for time.” — Alex Gibney

“Oliver Schmidt was not sharing what he knew with many of the US team, including Stuart Johnson.  But the cheating and how to handle it was an open secret among many executives in Germany.  Schmidt wrote an e-mail posing a fundamental question about strategy.  ‘It should first be decided whether we are honest.  If we are not honest, everything stays as it is.’  Translation: keep cheating and conceal the defeat device in a storm of obfuscating e-mails, misleading technical reports and endless diversionary meetings.  As CARB turned up the heat on VW, Stuart Johnson was suddenly promoted and Oliver Schmidt was quickly transferred back to Germany.  Back in Wolfsburg, Schmidt and the other German execs came up with a plan.  VW would announce a recall and pledge to fix the problem.  For the moment, CARB and the EPA seemed satisfied that VW was finally ready to do the right thing.  They’d convince you with their data so you wouldn’t bother to keep testing the car.  VW did not fix the problem.  Just the opposite.  The company fixed the defeat device to make it even better at cheating.  Through VW’s own test, engineers discovered that sometimes the pollution controls would actually work as advertised on the road.  But that caused wear and tear on the exhaust system.  So to protect the cars, VW engineers changed the software, so pollution controls were shut off as soon as the driver moved the steering wheel.” — Alex Gibney

“When it was clear VW’s fog machine wasn’t working, VW agreed to a series of meetings with CARB in August 2015.” — Alex Gibney


Sally Yates, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Sally Yates

“Volkswagen turned over half a million American drivers into unwitting accomplices in an unprecedented assault on our country’s environment.  Our criminal investigation is active and ongoing.  We can’t undo the damage that Volkswagen caused to our air quality.  But what we can do is offset that damage by reducing pollution from future sources.  Now, with respect to the agreement more specifically, Volkswagen must offer to buy back any car that’s on the road.  That’s nearly 500,000 two-liter diesel vehicles that are model years 2009 through 2015.  As part of the buyback, Volkswagen…” — Sally Yates


Jack Ewing, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Jack Ewing

“In the 1930s, cars were still a rarity in Germany, or relatively rare.  It wasn’t something that most people had.  And in the United States, a lot of people think Henry Ford invented the car but he didn’t, actually.  What he did invent was how to build cars cheaply that everybody could afford.  So in the United States, there was far more middle-class people who had automobiles than in Germany.  And that really bothered the Germans and the Nazis, in particular, because they were supposed to be superior.  So Hitler hooked up with Ferdinand Porsche.  Porsche already had some designs in his drawer.  This idea of a volkswagen, a people’s car, had been kicking around for quite a while.  And then he started developing the car with Nazi money.  Porsche, himself, went to Ford and looked around on several occasions.  He hired Germans who were working at Ford, émigrés.  He brought them back to Germany to help build the Volkswagen factory.  And it was very consciously modeled on Ford, but it was supposed to be even bigger.  They wanted it to be the biggest factory in the world, which it eventually became.  The city of Wolfsburg, it just doesn’t get any more ‘company town’ than that.  There was nothing there until they built the Volkswagen factory.  Everything that you see in Wolsburg today has really grown up around that original factory.” — Jack Ewing

“It was an amazing case of rebranding because this car was basicall designed for Hitler.  Then after the war, it becomes the symbol of the counterculture.” — Jack Ewing

“No.  NOx, nitrogen oxide, is very, uh, nasty stuff.  Elements of nitrogen oxides mix with ozone, and then chemically changes into what we call smog.  It’s a factor in acid rain.  It’a damaging for plant life.  It causes asthma in children, causes cardiac problems, cancer.  People will die prematurely.” — Jack Ewing


Walter Groth, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Walter Groth

“Okay, so, here, that’s the main street in Wolfsburg.  Wolfsburg, as a city, didn’t exist.  It’s a massive factory.  Nowadays, they are still employing 60,000 people.  And the chimneys you see over there, that’s actually the paint shop.  Yeah.  Basically everyone works, uh, either directly or at least indirectly for Volkswagen here.  It’s the largest one.  There’s no other factory, uh… right now, they are producing by day, round about between 3,000 to 3,500 cars.” — Walter Groth

“Twenty-four years.  My reaction, uh… I was angry, actually.  I was angry.  I took that very personal because, uh, I was thinking about all the people working for the brand and really doing the hard work.  And when you imagine that this is a company with more than 600,000 people working for Volkswagen worldwide, and more than a hundred factories, and you have to run this operation… and all these people, when you look at the production lines, at manufacturing, what they do… when you look at the people developing a car, starting with the designers, for example, they all want to come up with the best product possible.  During all these years, sales went down, losses were mounting.  Volkswagen was close to being insolvent.  I was asked to join the newly-formed, uh, North American region because we needed to do a turnaround of the Volkswagen of America.  In 1993, Volkswagen sold roughly 38,000 cars a year in the United States.  That’s a market with 16-17 million cars.  So 38,000 is, uh, ridiculous.  And, uh, you have to remember the times when Volkswagen in the United States, with the Beetle, sold almost half a million cars.” — Walter Groth

“Dr. Piëch came just in time to make that happen.  Before him, Volkswagen was rather thinking small, and with Piëch, the big thinking really started.  Piëch, uh, he’s the typical inventor.  He has the big product ideas.  He comes up with stuff that’s just, uh… wow.  Where did he get that from?  Volkswagen had huge success with TDI engines.  In Europe, people started to love diesel.  But there was always the problem that comes out from the exhaust um… not really healthy. That’s what he wanted for the United States, diesel, which is incredibly hard to do in the United States.  Everyone knew this.  Under pressure and when people feel fear, they might do things you don’t want them actually to do.” — Walter Groth

“I was completely surprised when I suddenly saw the clean diesel thing in the United States.  And first thought was, ‘great.  That’s great.  They solved the problem.  Wow.  I’m really deeply impressed.’  Then I looked at the price of the cars and, hmm, well, it’s actually right in the market.  But I was asking myself, ‘how did they do it?’  And I’m not an engine developer, I’m not an engineer, so… there might be a way nobody else has ever seen.  Uh, great, they did it.” — Walter Groth


Ferdinand Piëch, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw ProductionsFerdinand Piëch

“Whenever there is war, fewer remain in the end.  There are always winners and losers.  And I intend… along with our VW partners around the world…to emerge victorious.” — Ferdinand Piëch

“Yeah, a little faster is more fun.  I don’t feel I can’t communicate with others.  But there are individuals with whom I don’t want to communicate.  And they complain about my lack of communication.  However, that’s not unintentional.” — Ferdinand Piëch


Bertell Schmidt, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Bertel Schmitt

“Piëch, he was the head of Audi before.  He’s a brilliant man.  It’s brilliant, but it’s dangerous, okay?  Kind of.  I mean, Piëch was a tough guy and he knew what he was doing.  When Piëch started, Volkswagen was down and out.  They were just about bankrupt and their quality sucked.  It was a disaster.  Their value at the time was a disaster.  The average, uh, workshop visit of an average car was three to four times in the first year.  He had to turn the company around.  And it’s tough.  He has the idea of diesel.  At the time, diesels were something for tractors.  Maybe for, uh, big Mercedes.  And he said, ‘it’s going to be diesel.’  He made the diesel smaller, invented TDI.  People, they loved it.” — Bertel Schmitt

“Winterkorn came and they did this strategy called Strategy 2018.  Volkswagen never was great in America.  The Volkswagen Bug was kind of a fluke.  But America’s a very important market.  At the time, it was the world’s largest.  So, those Americans, they have to buy our diesel cars.  And that’s how it all started.  The pressure on everybody to increase sales became unbearable.” — Bertel Schmitt


George W. Bush, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw ProductionsGeorge W. Bush

“Today, I’m directing the EPA and the Department of Transportation, Energy and Agriculture to take the first steps towards regulations that would cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for motor vehicles.” — George W. Bush


Barack Obama, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw ProductionsBarack Obama

“We have set in motion a national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new trucks and cars sold in the United States of America.” — Barack Obama


Martin Winterkorn, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Martin Winterkorn

“Dr. Piëch and I have been working together for almost 30 years.  And as you know, Dr. Piëch has always regarded innovation as the top priority.  So, we agreed that he would focus on innovation and I would safeguard it.  We wanted to have the most satisfied customers.  We wanted to achieve good results in order to invest in the future.  And we wanted to make the best cars.  The upshot of which will be that by 2018 we are going to be the preeminent car manufacturer in the world.  And Chattanooga stands for the Volkswagen way of life.  Sustainable, reliable and successful.  Now, more than ever, Volkswagen has everything it takes to win the hearts and minds of American customers.” — Martin Winterkorn


John German, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions John German

“I describe myself as a pragmatic environmentalist.  I spent about a decade each with Chrysler, then EPA, then Honda before I wound up at this non-profit, International Council on Clean Transportation.  The goal’s always the environment.  We focus on working with regulators worldwide, not with legislatures.  So we’re trying to help the regulators do their job better.  The whole VW scandal started in Europe.  In 2011-2012, there’s a report from an organization called JRC.  It actually showed some anecdotal evidence of high diesel emissions in Europe.  But the report was basically ignored.  We had this brainstorm that there was a missing piece of data, which is what’s happening in the US.  And so, in 2013, we decided to test some diesels in the US.  Primarily because we expected them to be clean.  And then we would take that data back to Europe and say, ‘look, they’re clean in the US.  How come you can’t do it in Europe?'” — John German

“West Virginia University, then they came to us.  Once they said, you know, ‘we have these high emissions and we can’t explain it.’  And my first reaction was, ‘there must be something wrong with the vehicle.’  Literally, a malfunction.  It wasn’t operating properly.  But we tested these vehicles at the California emission laboratory and they passed the standards, which meant there was nothing wrong with the vehicle.  And at that stage, I was pretty darn sure this was a defeat device.  There’s a long history of defeat devices and I worked at EPA during some of these defeat device investigations.  The most recent major one was a 1998 case for heavy-duty engine manufacturers, in which almost every manufacturer of heavy-duty engines was calibrating them to increase emissions when they ran down the highway.  That scandal cost them about $1 billion in total fines and remedies.  And now with the VW case, I knew I was sitting on a time bomb.  But the words ‘defeat device’ never would cross my lips, ’cause you just don’t say that about a multi-billion dollar company when you’re a little, uh, NGO with 30 employees.  It was just too dangerous.  We’d have been potentially sued out of existence if it had even been implied we were accusing VW of having a defeat device.” — John German

“The compromise that we came up with is that we did post the report publicly on our website, but it refers to vehicles A, B, and C.  We did not identify them.  Now, two days before we put the report online, I sent a courtesy e-mail to VW, saying, ‘this report’s coming out.  Here it is.  By the way, vehicles A and B are yours.'” — John German

“Technological leadership is not just defined anymore by horsepower and torque.  The joy of economical and emissions-free driving, ladies and gentlemen, will be the currency in coming years.” — John German

“You strap a vehicle onto a dyamometer and the front wheels never turn.  So they looked for movement of the front steering wheel and deactivated emission controls if they found that movement.  How could they possibly believe that they could go out and just change from one egregious strategy to a different egregious strategy and get away with it?  I still don’t understand that.  That was without doubt the stupidest thing VW did.  The reason VW finally came clean is actually fairly simple.  EPA told them that if they didn’t come clean,  they would not certify any 2016 vehicles, including their gasoline vehicles.  That means VW can’t sell cars.  No sales of new cars.” — John German


Arvind Thiruvengadam, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Arvind Thiruvengadam

“This is a portable emissions measurement system that we use to measure emissions from vehicles on a real-time basis.  It’s a miniaturized version of a laboratory-grade measurement system where it’s kind of in a shoebox-size, uh, equipment, where you can put it in the vehicle.  This is used for a very specific purpose, which is in-use measurement.  So we tap into the tailpipe and it measures two things.  It measures the exhaust flow rate, how much exhaust is coming out, and then what the constituents of the exhaust are.  so it’s just a simple math, flow rate times the concentration, which is going to give you the, uh, the amount of, uh, pollutants that are coming out of the tailpipe.  So that’s… whenever we do real-world testing, we do expect certain deviations from the certification number.  Conditions such as ambient temperature, road grade, trassic and such, which you always cannot expect the manufacturer to be at the lowest possible emissions.  But there is an acceptable level of deviation.  Usually, five to six times deviation is part of real-world activity.  But the kind of deviations we were observing from the VW passenger cars were significantly higher.” — Arvind Thiruvengadam


Stuart Johnson, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Stuart Johnson

“I do.  I am.  Yes, I am.  Uh… all together, I’ve worked at Volkswagen 33 years.  Yes.  Yes, I do.  That’s correct.  Yes.  That’s correct.  Because I didn’t like hearing that, out in a public forum, Volkswagen was being accused of cheating.  I didn’t like the fact that there was a… that that would, um lead to some kind of suspension against our company.  Yes.  My reason for writing that was that I wanted to try to manage the message and part of managing that message is engaging with the agencies.  In retrospect, yes, that’s true.  Yes, he was.  No.  We were negotiating, holding meetings with them, talking about… no, I don’t believe that.  Yes.  Yes.  I would say, yes, that’s true, knowing what I know today.  I always thought that there was a good explanation for what was happening and that it wasn’t cheating.  And the first time that I really… had the feeling that something was wrong and cheating was very possibly happening was when we met with the Air Resources Board on July 8th, 2015.  In my opinion, I would characterize it as, uh, a pretty rough meeting.  Lots of strong talk from the agencies.  They said, ‘we think you’re recognizing the FTP.  We don’t know how you’re doing it, but we’re convinced you’re doing it.’  Well, I’ve discussed it a lot with the management in Germany.  Uh, Oliver Schmidt almost called me immediately after the meeting, within a day or so, saying, ‘what went on at the meeting?  How did it go?’  I said, ‘it didn’t go very well.’  He said, ‘yes, I heard that.’  No, I didn’t.  To me, the people I was in contact with were the people that were deceiving me.  Oliver Schmidt told me that he authorized to come to the US, he was authorized to meet with Alberto Ayala, and he was authorized to make an admission.  There were comments made at the meeting that this was a financial decision.  That’s what was stated in the meeting.  So it sounded like a pretty strong confession to me at the time.  We told Mr. Ayala the vehicle recognizes the dyno, it recognizes the test cycle and that this was a software gimmick.  That some software had been developed by somebody who thought they were smarter than you.” — Stuart Johnson


Michael Melkerson

“You are Stewart Johnson?  Are you currently employed at Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.?  How long have you been employed there?  In this e-mail, uh, it’s true isn’t it, that you’re talking about the West Virginia University study.  True?  Second-to-last sentence: ‘some presenters indicated they suspected cheating.’  You see that?  That’s something you wrote, right?  So you were aware, at least as of April 8, 2014, that cheating was one of the possible explanations for what was going on.  True?  You state, quote, ‘we will have to be careful with this going forward.’  Why did you say that?  Well, what was it specifically that you all would need to be careful about?  But how could you be careful in order to alleviate suspicions?  You have no control over suspicions third parties have, right?  So what was it specifically that you needed to be careful about?  It’s true, isn’t it, that these various reasons were given in attempt to mislead the agency into believing there were technical explanations for the high NOx level as opposed to an explanation that involved cheating, true?  Mr. Johnson, I’ve handed you what’s been marked as Exhibit 25… in May of 2014, was Oliver Schmidt your boss?  When the West Virginia University report came out, did Oliver Schmidt express to you that one of the possibilities for the explanation of this report is that we were cheating?  Do you believe that Oliver Schmidt was transferred back to Germany and you moved into that position to allow plausible deniability?  Did you have a reputation at your company for honesty?  Being forthright?  Did Oliver Schmidt share that reputation that you had?  Would it be a fair statement that at the time that Volkswagen Group of America was telling CARB that it would update its software to more closely attempt compliance with regulatory limits, in fact, it was updating the software to further its cheat?  True?  Who above you, as far as management’s concerned, did you discuss it with?  I’m gonna stop you right there.  Did you ask anybody whether or not you were cheating?  Why not?  There was an intentional premeditated cost-benefit analysis to cheat.” — Michael Melkerson


Alberto Alaya, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Alberto Alaya

“What was different about this is, how far off they were, the magnitude.  We’re not talking about just a little bit above the standard.  Forty times the limit was the average.  If you look at some data points that we have, um, in some cases, it was 80 times the limit.  And now you have two data points.  We have two studies on our hands, saying this just doesn’t make sense.  At that point, that’s when we went from research to ‘now we need to turn this into a regulatory action.’  What followed was 60 months of intense interaction with the company, back and forth because it just escalated.  We would do some testing, generate questions, send them to the company.  They’d be expected to bring us answers.  They would bring us answers, we would go back to the lab and try them and then generate more questions.  The company was uh, unfortunately, uh, dismissive.  It’s like, oh, you know, ‘maybe your instruments are not well calibrated,’ or, you know, ‘oh you have academics, graduate students graduate students running around, maybe they did it wrong and, uh, you guys gotta go check in because you gotta use experts to make sure that…’ and we would do all of that, right?  ‘Cause, again, all along, we’re thinking, ‘this is not a defeat device.  This is just a technical problem.’  The two company representatives that we interacted with the most were Stuart Johnson and Oliver Schmidt, who at the time was actually based here.  So he represented the company when it came to certification issues.” — Alberto Alaya

“For every meeting that Oliver and I had, our technical teams probably had another five, ten meetings.  There was so much going on and it just got really convoluted.  That was a challenge here.  It didn’t feel like we were making progress.  They told us, ‘oh, while we do this recall, we will put a fix to this issue on the NOx.’  Right?  Uh, in the hope that I would come back and tell my team, ‘we’re done.’  Correct, and of course that’s not how we do business here, right?  They did the recall and we got some test vehicles.  We went back into the lab, and it wasn’t giving us in-use emissions that match the in-certification test.  The time that we wasted giving them the benefit of the doubt that’s really what– what, um, what got me, that I was, um… I was naïve thinking that the company was operating, uh, in good faith and trying to find a solution, because it was all wasted.  They could’ve come clean from day one and saved us a lot of trouble.  Very systematically, we were checking… we thought it’s this.  It’s not, it’s not.  You go down and eliminate all other options.  The only thing remaining is it’s gotta be a defeat device.  Stuart did approach me and we went aside and had a conversation, and that’s when he admitted to me that it was a defeat device.  That was the first time.” — Alberto Alaya


Oliver Schmidt, Dirty Money, Netflix, Jigsaw Productions Oliver Schmidt

“Let’s first have a look at Volkswagen’s history of diesel in the US.  With this technology, we won, in 2009, the Green Car of the Year.  Unfortunately, we got new emission regulations in the US.  So, we had to comply with, um, with Bin 5 or ULEV standard all over the US… we were able to increase fuel economy by a lot, and we reduced the NOx raw emission of the engine by 40% in order to comply with future emission regulations… ” — Oliver Schmidt


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