Conducting an internal investigation isn’t the same as finding the truth.
Self-reporting is a great way for a company to spin a screw up. That’s why it's usually best for outside authorities to step in when it comes to scandals such as Dieselgate. But this isn’t what happened to Volkswagen after its Dieselgate scandal. Instead, the automaker got to create its own Special Committee on Diesel Engines to investigate itself and find out which of its high-level employees was involved in the scandal. Can you guess how that turned out?
This approach turned out to be unsatisfactory for three different investor groups that hold shares in VW, mainly because the results aren’t publicized which means internal problems could still persist. Spokesperson Juergen Kurz of German investor group DSW said, "When you have an independent investigation you can be sure that the findings will be publicized. With internal investigations you do not know whether everything has been made transparent." Another investment group named Hermes EOS is calling for a vote to conduct an independent investigation into VW. Unfortunately, this requires a vote by the board and the combined stocks of all three investor groups only provide a small percentage of power.
The Piech-Porsche families are the ones with a controlling share of 52%, meaning that the vote is unlikely to pass. Unfortunately, implications from the secrecy mean that there could be more board members who are responsible for some of VW’s lying and cheating ways still collecting a paycheck. An independent investigation could find out if this is true or not, which could mean even worse publicity if it happens to be true. VW’s reluctance on the matter isn’t a confirmation that it didn’t properly conduct an investigation on itself, but it does raise a few eyebrows. The three could go to German courts (which are busy with other automakers) and get an order forcing VW to allow an investigation. For now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.