John German, the man who discovered the international scandal of VW’s defeat devices, describes himself as a ‘simple engineer’. In light of this, it makes the fact that despite telling VW about his findings regarding the fraudulent ‘defeat devices’ nothing was done, even more shocking.
Mr German believes this is unlikely to be the end of the ‘defeat devices’ scandal however, suggesting that other vehicles from other manufacturers should also be tested for similar additions. As the co-lead for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in the US, Mr German is a strong authority on such subjects and thus his advice should probably be followed. He claims that “There’s been a consistent stream of data suggesting that diesel cars in Europe have high NOx (nitrogen oxides and dioxides) emission,” it was the low emissions of cars in America which spurred the ICCT to investigate how this was managed, and ultimately what lead to the defeat devices being discovered.
John German stated that his organisation had been investigating VW since 2003; however it was only when laboratory tests were abandoned and machines and probes were inserted into the cars whilst driven on the road that the illegitimacy of the previous results came to light. Originally, as the results differed so much from those in the lab, Mr German said
“When the researchers first saw it they thought there was something wrong with their equipment… We found high – very high – emissions in the real world.”
John German, ICCT
He then revealed the scale of the fraud, claiming that “The Passat had emissions five to 20 times the standard. The Jetta was worse. It was 15-35 times the standard”.
Volkswagen attempted to offer many an excuse for why the emissions were so high, but none added up, then eventually in September 2015, they admitted to the use of defeat devices. Despite being so instrumental in discovering this international scandal, when asked what the repercussions for VW should be, Mr German refuses to comment, saying “I’m just a simple engineer from Michigan – I don’t get into that”. He does state however, “This is the part that I find to be completely inexplicable. VW had a chance to fix it, and yet they continued to try and hide the fact they had a defeat device.”