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Scandal underscored: Just how much trouble is Volkswagen in?

What a difference a few days makes.

Many of our readers might well be imagining what it would be like to be a Volkswagen executive right now. The inner-sanctum meetings being held at company headquarters are assuredly anything but calm and dispassionate affairs.

Here's why.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency weighed in last Friday with the staggering claim that the global automaker was cheating consumers and government regulators through use of software that was being used to surreptitiously undermine the validity of pollution-testing results. The agency stated that close to half a million diesel vehicles were affected and needed to be recalled for fixes.

Volkswagen didn't spend any time vacillating on the matter. Instead, it admitted its bad-faith action.

Now, and just a few short days later, the company is offering up some revised statements on the matter that are eye-popping indeed.

In short: That 500,000 number can be scratched. In its stead, substitute the figure 11 million.

That is correct. Volkswagen officials are saying that the company's emission scandal potentially affects that many vehicles.

One media article from today calls that a "startling admission [that] instantly makes the crisis one of the most expensive automotive scandals in recent memory."

Sadly, what the scandal further underscores is the lack of public trust that grows commensurate with each newly revised version of truth.

Motor vehicle-related fraud and machinations are serious matters, indeed. Often, they relate in tragic ways to motor vehicle accidents and fatalities. In the instant case, they relate directly to environmental degradation and spotlight company action that is fueled by a desire to cut costs and increase profits.

What will be next?

Source: USA TODAY, "Volkswagen emission scandal widens: 11 million cars affected," Nathan Bomey, Sept. 22, 2015

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