Following Martin Winterkorn's resignation from the world's largest car company a few minutes ago, the company's Supervisory Board put out a numbered list of "conclusions" it has reached about the growing emissions scandal that threatens to bring the entire company down.
The verbiage is mostly what you'd expect from a handful of suits who are suddenly scrambling to prevent an enormous global institution from falling like a Jenga tower, but it still reads a little strangely.
Here are the weirdest bits.
1. "The Executive Committee notes that Professor Dr. Winterkorn had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data."
Is this to say that Winterkorn told the board he didn't know this systematic undermining of federal emissions regulations was going on for six years, and they wrote it down on a notepad?
Do they actually believe him?
2. "The Executive Committee thanks Dr. Winterkorn for towering contributions in the past decades and for his willingness to take responsibility in this criticall [sic] phase for the company. This attitude is illustrious."
"Illustrious" isn't the first word I would've chosen.
3. "All participants in these proceedings that has resulted in unmeasurable harm for Volkswagen, will be subject to the full consequences."
Full Consequences sounds like a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie. (Actually, it might be?) In reality, this seems to be a euphemism for termination of employment. Inasmuch that the world's justice departments are interested in prosecuting individual employees — which they may be — "full consequences" could also mean prison time.
4. "The Executive Committee have decided that the company will voluntarily submit a complaint to the State Prosecutors' office in Brunswick."
Prosecutors in Brunswick, Germany had already announced their intention to investigate Volkswagen employees over the scandal, but it seems like VW is being aggressively helpful here by ... filing a complaint against its own staff?
5. "The Executive Committee proposes that the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG create a special committee, under whose leadership further clarifying steps will follow, including the preparation of the necessary consequences."
Preparation of the Necessary Consequences is the action-packed prequel to Full Consequences.
6. "Volkswagen is a magnificent company that depends on the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people."
Depends on the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people? Yes — and the overwhelming majority of those are not complicit in the disgusting deception that Volkswagen underwrote over the last decade. "Magnificent company," though? At the moment, I'd take issue with that.
Maybe putting the Mission E into production would help.