Volkswagen's engine development engineers in Germany allegedly knew about the company's defeat devices on diesel engines as far back as 2006, and the cheating was an open secret among them, according to Reuters citing a German newspaper. These new revelations allegedly come from VW's yet-to-be-released internal investigation, and they shed doubt on the company's assertion of only a few engineers' knowing about the deception. Earlier reports suggested fewer than 10 or as many as 30 people may have been directly involved in the cheating, but other employees in the division reportedly knew that their co-workers were creating defeat devices, according to Reuters.

Even when word did get out, VW's internal culture, which pressured employees to achieve every goal, kept changes from happening. According to Reuters, a worker involved in the cheating came clean to a senior manager from another division in 2011. However, the manager didn't pursue the problem. In another example of the repercussions of this stressful corporate lifestyle, engineers admitted in November that they cheated on CO2 tests to achieve VW's goals. The automaker eventually found around 36,000 vehicles in Europe with improper emissions rating after initially suspecting 800,000.

To get to the bottom of this cheating, VW's internal investigators offered job protection to whistleblowers that came forward before November 30. About 50 workers eventually discussed what happened, including those that brought the CO2 issue to light.


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