Faster, Higher, Farther | Jack Ewing

Summary of: Faster, Higher, Farther: How One of the World’s Largest Automakers Committed a Massive and Stunning Fraud
By: Jack Ewing


Discover the explosive truth about Volkswagen’s (VW) massive fraud in Jack Ewing’s thrilling book, ‘Faster, Higher, Farther’. While VW positioned itself as an eco-friendly automaker, it misled consumers and regulators through the use of illegal defeat devices. Explore the company’s history, from its roots as Hitler’s ‘people’s car’, to how it became an international powerhouse. Learn about the controversial figures behind VW’s success, such as Ferdinand Piëch and Martin Winterkorn, and how their relentless ambitions led to the company’s dishonest practices. The scandal cost the company billions of dollars and tarnished its reputation. Join us in uncovering how this green marketing façade was carefully constructed, and ultimately, shattered.

VW Scandal Exposed

Jack Ewing’s exposé on Volkswagen’s illegal “defeat device” is a riveting and detailed account of how the car manufacturer duped consumers into believing that their diesel cars were environmentally friendly. Ewing, a New York Times journalist based in Germany, narrates the story of how VW overtook Toyota as the global leader in car sales, only to fall from grace when the company’s emissions fraud was revealed. Ewing reveals the extent of VW’s cover-up and how the scandal cost the company $15 billion in the United States alone, with potentially much higher losses worldwide.

The Dark History of Volkswagen

Volkswagen was founded by Ferdinand Porsche and grew out of Hitler’s desire for a “people’s car.” The company produced military vehicles during the war and relied heavily on forced labor. Porsche turned a blind eye to the use of slave labor, which made up as much as 80% of VW’s workforce. Despite serving prison time after the war, Porsche’s company became the largest dealer franchise in Europe. Ferdinand Piëch, an engineering genius, gained significant power at VW and was instrumental in its success.

Piëch’s Dominance

Piëch’s successful leadership transformed Volkswagen into a sales leader. In just five years, Piëch’s leadership brought a $650 million profit.

In 1993, Ferdinand Piëch became the leader of Volkswagen with a clear objective – to dominate the automobile industry. His leadership brought unmatchable success, as the company’s profits skyrocketed. The popular “Think Small” campaign played a vital part in Volkswagen’s peak sales of 570,000 in 1970. However, by the 90s, the company was searching for a leader that could deliver growth, and Piëch was the perfect match. He handled the company’s challenges smoothly and delivered results that surpassed their expectations. Piëch left a remarkable legacy, turning a small carmaker into one of the world’s most successful automobile companies.

The Dark Side of Diesel

The US Clean Air Act of 1990 enabled regulators to conduct lab tests on cars, but a rogue EPA engineer re-tested diesel truck emissions compliance on roads. His scrutiny uncovered a pattern of non-compliance with diesel trucks, fining seven manufacturers over $1 billion. Diesel passenger cars, which had never faced on-road tests, contributed to smog, acid rain, and serious health issues despite producing less carbon dioxide. The unchecked power of one engineer exposed the dark side of diesel, revealing the price we pay for ignoring emissions regulations.

VW’s Deceitful Software

Following Ferdinand Piëch’s election as chairman of the VW supervisory board, he promoted Martin Winterkorn, a man with a drive to sell millions of cars in the US market and diesel car sales. Winterkorn’s demands for a diesel engine with excellent fuel economy and low emissions led to Volkswagen’s engineers resorting to deceivingly installing software in the engine control unit that lowered emissions during testing, a known illegal act. This deceitful act put Volkswagen at odds with the law of physics while simultaneously amassing a negative environmental impact, highlighting the cost of ambition.

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