The last thing Volkswagen needs is another scandal on their hands. They are barely done with the diesel scandal that occurred near the end of 2015 and have had to cut back on the development of some ofthe vehicles the group felt wasn’t absolutely necessary only to find they are in the middle of another bizarre scandal due to funding for research. Does this mean that Volkswagen will once again be mired with the involvement of a scandal that is nearly impossible for them to handle and understand the public view of this brand will change once again?
In order to avoid being the subject of such a troublesome turn of events, Volkswagen has been much more proactive in this particular scandal, and it appears they aren’t directly involved in the actions that took place. The trouble came to light when news surfaced that a US-based research institute conducted a study that involved ten monkeys being placed in an air-tight chamber that was filled with diesel fumesto study the effects of the emissions on the monkeys. This study was conducted by the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in 2014 and it was hired by a European group to handle studies of these effects.
Getting in Front of the Mess
Lovelace was hired by the European Research Group on Environmental Health in the Transportation Sector, known as EUGT and this sector has been shut down since this study took place. The involvement from Volkswagen as well as BMW and Daimler comes in the form of funding without direct involvement in the research being conducted. While these three companies weren’t directly involved in the work being done, they do need to take action regarding the way their investments were being used for the studies that were conducted.
Volkswagen is the first to announce the consequences related to the study. The Board of Management accepted a proposal by Dr. Thomas Steg, who was the head of the group related to the hiring and involvement with Lovelace. Steg has been suspended and will remain in that status until the full investigation has been completed. In addition to this suspension, VW is taking the investigation as far as they can with a team of professionals that are hired to look deep into the activities and involvements related to this study that was conducted using animals during the research.
The fact that VW is able to get out in front of this scandal and have identified the person responsible for the funding as the one to take responsibility for the involvement by the company may make this less of a scandal for Volkswagen and simply a poor decision by one of the leaders in the company. With Dr. Steg taking full responsibility for this issue, VW can continue to move forward and hopefully avoid involvement in anything else that looks or feels anything like a scandal in the future. This time, VW is being transparent and is actively being proactive, making this a scandal that’s not as involved for the VW team.