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What is the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal?

As you may have heard, Volkswagen is embroiled in a growing scandal over the emissions produced by a diesel engine used in a variety of its models. It's been less than a week since the news broke, and the company is already in disarray: the CEO is out, and many more senior executives are expected to get the axe on Friday and beyond.

But what exactly is the scandal? What happened, how, and why? Let us explain in a quick video — we promise it'll only take two and a half minutes of your time.