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When Michael Horn, the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, recently testified before a committee of the U.S. Congress about the software that Volkswagen installed on its diesel-powered cars to defeat emissions tests, he expressed his own incredulity that the blame lay with a couple of engineers.So do the consumers who bought into the company's "clean diesel" marketing and purchased one of the 11 million affected Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, and Seat cars.With Volkswagen announcing the recall of 8.5 million cars in Europe, the company may not survive – at least not in its current form.Unfortunately, in the wake of the revelations, Volkswagen has squandered what could have been a watershed moment for the company – a perfect opportunity to overhaul its broken corporate governance and bring in truly independent board members and fresh new thinking at the top. Instead, Hans Dieter P?tsch, Volkswagen's chief financial officer since 2003, a true insider, has been appointed chairman of the supervisory board, and the new CEO is another insider, Matthias Muller, the former head of Volkswagen's Porsche brand. The behavior of companies like Volkswagen may end up encouraging consumers to shift from the industry's incumbent manufacturers to newcomers such as Google's forthcoming self-driving cars and Tesla's electric models, which challenge the very premise of emissions tests.
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