A number of recent articles describing the recent meeting between the US President Barrack Obama and the VW Group CEO Matthias Müller have featured rather colorful language.
The New York Times article on the subject even went as far as to say the VW Group CEO personally apologized for the matter to the US President and “plead for mercy.” (The article seems to have had the wording changed after the fact, though. Perhaps someone with clout was offended?)
Considering how thoroughly the German economy is dependent upon international auto sales these days, and what a major player VW Group is, the original reports seem credible enough to me. Why wouldn’t the VW CEO, after everything that was pulled, plead for mercy? After all, the response is looking likely to be severe, is it not?
Green Car Reports provides more:
The two met when Obama visited Hanover, close to VW’s Wolfsburg global headquarters, for a dinner hosted by German chancellor Angela Merkel for the president to meet with German industry leaders. At a news conference held last Thursday in Wolfsburg, Müller said he had personally apologized to the president for the company’s role in the diesel-emission cheating scandal. The pair had a two-minute conversation, he said, during which he also noted that 600,000 employees and many German suppliers depend on VW’s continued health and growth.
…The story is relatively straightforward — but in our original reading, we had noticed a different headline that caught our eye. As reprinted by The Boston Globe (previously owned by The New York Times), the story still carries the more evocative original title that we had noticed. It was, VW chief ‘personally’ apologized to Obama in plea for mercy” — and that specific phrase was repeated in the first paragraph of the story.
The chief executive of one of the world’s three largest automakers, wrote reporter Jack Ewing, had been “making what amounted to a plea for mercy as the German carmaker negotiates penalties with US officials.”
There’s a world of difference between an apology and a “plea for mercy,” and we wonder if the language proved just a little too colorful for the final version online at the Times site. But it must be startling, even horrifying, to see a foreign newspaper report that a top German executive essentially begged the president of another country for lenient treatment after his company knowingly and deliberately violated that country’s laws for eight years.
Such language, and such imagery, are one of the reasons the story remains so newsworthy.
Certainly true. Also, it’s simply always good to see a cheat get their comeuppance. Especially one as blatantly arrogant about things as VW has been. It really should have been obvious that they would get caught, shouldn’t it have been?
And, given that this all may well be the death knell for diesel cars, there is clearly some real good coming out of the matter. Diesel cars have always been a scam.