In the middle of November it came out that Volkswagen had given whistleblower employees until November 30 to come forward and testify in its internal investigation. The promise was that if they did, they would not need to fear being fired and would be given immunity from damage claims. A company spokesman said 50 of them came forward before the deadline to offer their accounts.

Volkswagen said the investigation could take several months, and has offered few updates on it. So far we have had little but notices of fired and suspended engineers and resigning executives. VW suspended ten engineers in October, two of them being head of R&D at Audi, Ulrich Hackenberg, and head of engine development and R&D at Porsche, Wolfgang Hatz. The company said three of the ten appeared to have no connection to the emissions scandals – plural, in light of the CO2 issue arose shortly after the diesel issue. Hackenberg remained suspended, then tendered his resignation at the beginning of this month.

US law firm Jones Day is leading the investigation. One of the potential issues with the program is that VW can't protect employees from criminal charges brought by governmental authorities. In the US, one of the key ways the Justice Department decides a company is cooperating with an investigation is if that company names responsible individuals. VW has already said the amnesty doesn't apply to senior management, but one assumes the internal investigation will want to know which engineers did what and when, and the Justice Department will want that information as well.


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