The recall in late 2014 was no big deal for Volkswagen’s management board. A half a million diesel cars in the United States would be ordered to repair shops because their emission levels were too high.
The problem was annoying but not unresolvable.
VW technicians had already developed a software update to recalibrate the engine control module. Such a recall, VW sources said, might not be daily business but they happen often.
Nobody on the management board seemed upset.
At that point, nearly a year before the carmaker’s emissions rigging scandal exploded, it might not have been clear to the management board exactly what was slumbering in its diesel engines.
Otherwise top managers, led at the time by then-Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, could have contained the biggest crisis in Volkswagen’s 78-year history, or perhaps even prevented it.