In a recent press conference, Volkswagen AG chairman, Hans Dieter Poetsch, openly expressed that the company’s need to cheat emissions tests in the US stemmed from the country’s “impossible” regulations.

According to a report by Automotive News, Poetsch, claimed that a decision was made in 2005 to “launch a large-scale promotion” of diesel cars in the US. However, he also admitted that the company’s engineers had then found it impossible to meet the US’ tough regulations, which were even stricter than those in Europe at the time. Volkswagen’s own cost and timing targets presented an equal challenge.

“Looking back, we regrettably have to recognise that the developers involved in the EA 189 project quite simply could not find a way to meet the tougher NOx (nitrogen dioxide) limits in the United States by permissible means,” the chairman explained.

The rest, as you know, was history. Volkswagen had developed and utilised a cheating software to manoeuvre around the tough regulations. The first model to feature the device was the Jetta in 2009. Equipped with the infamous EA 189 four-cylinder diesel engine, the car entered the US market and was quickly acclaimed for its great fuel efficiency and low NOx emissions.

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid (USA-Version)

To date, it is believed that up to 450 internal and external investigators are involved in the ongoing case. Investigations are also underway to uncover responsible decision makers, and also those who knew about the company’s illegal activities and did nothing to report it.

Poetsch said, “we are not talking about a one-off mistake but a whole chain of mistakes that was not interrupted at any point along the timeline. We still do not know that these people involved in this issue from 2005 to the present day were fully aware of the risks they were taking and of the potential damage they could expose the company to.”

Thus far, nine key executives believed to be involved in the dieselgate saga have been suspended prior to the conclusion of the case. The Group’s former CEO, Martin Winterkorn was amongst the first to go. More recently, Audi’s Ulrich Hackenberg, the father of the MQB platform, was ousted.

Said to be “largely concluded” in Europe, Volkswagen says it will be a long time before full details of the dieselgate scandal is disclosed.