Internal communications at Volkswagen used "dozens" of codewords to obfuscate the use of cheat software to make its diesel engines look cleaner than they actually were, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the ongoing investigation. One such codeword was "acoustic software," which seems about as far as possible from a program designed to evade standards testing by detecting testing conditions and altering engine settings to feign compliance. The report also cites obsolete computers and software as additional roadblocks in tracking down how the cheating started, and who exactly is responsible.
A variety of deadlines are fast approaching for VW, which is in the process of developing and deploying fixes for some of the affected engines and faces numerous lawsuits and government inquiries worldwide. It recently had a deadline for a settlement with the EPA, USDOJ, and CARB extended until this Thursday, April 21st, and it plans on discussing overall progress on an earnings call next week.
The scandal, which could cost Volkswagen many billions of dollars, has claimed several executives at the company including departed CEO Martin Winterkorn. It has, at times, tried to assign blame to individual engineers rather than leadership, though the scope of the deception — which affects millions of vehicles across multiple brands globally — makes that difficult to believe. Clearly, the use of fake phrases in internal communications doesn't help Volkswagen's credibility.