VW Conducted Illegal Exhaust-Gas Experiments on Humans and Monkeys

The German car industry faces another round of scrutiny on reports it conducted illegal experiments on humans and monkey

In 2014 the New York Times reported that monkeys had been detained for four hours in rooms with exhaust gases from a VW Beetle equipped with manipulated exhaust technology.

We now learn that VW conducted tests on humans as well.

Inexcusable Tests

Not only monkeys, but also people were also exposed to the irritant gas nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in exhaust tests by the "European Research Association for Environment and Health in the Transport Sector" (EUGT). It was founded in 2007 by the concerns Daimler, VW, BMW and the automotive supplier Bosch.

According to reports of the "Stuttgarter Zeitung" and the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", the EUGT also promoted an experiment in which human subjects exposed themselves to the irritant gas nitrogen dioxide. According to the Federal Environment Agency, it damages the mucosal tissue in the entire respiratory tract and irritates the eyes. Car exhaust fumes are considered the main source of irritant gas.

"Ten monkeys for hours wantonly inhale car exhaust to prove that the pollution allegedly decreased, is disgusting and absurd," said Lower Saxony's Prime Minister and VW Supervisory Board member Stephan Weil (SPD).

Eurointelligence Comments

I picked up this story from Eurointelligence which had these comments:

The German car industry understood some time ago that the only way for diesel technology to survive in this day and age was through criminal activity. The reports about cheating on emissions test were only the tip of the iceberg. Then became the revelation that the industry operated illegal cartels, and now it is becoming known that it has conducted illegal experiments on humans and animals.

Spiegel Online has the latest update on the experiments with monkeys in the US, and with humans in Europe. Daimler, VW, BMW, and Bosch, have created what they called a research institute for the promotion of health in the transportation sector - known by its German initials EUGT.

The institute carried out an experiment with 25 people who were exposed to nitrogen dioxide in different concentrations.

The car companies were yesterday trying to distance themselves from those activities, which they funded. Even in Germany, where politicians tend to prioritize the health of the car industry over everything else, this is now going too far. The prime minister of Lower Saxony, Stefan Weil, who is also a member of the supervisory board of VW, said it was absurd to expose people and animals to toxins with the explicit goal to demonstrate that these are harmless.

No Excuse

There is no excuse for this and no apology can be accepted. The rot starts at the top and people should be in prison starting at the top.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

StillCJ, since you seem so upset that VW and Audi had to pay fines, pray tell me how many guys at VW went to jail for cheating. The guys who cheat (it is a crime, dammit) should do jail term! Try stealing at a grocery shop and see if you can get away with a fine. Any amount of fines will be treated as cost of doing business and typically will be miniscule of the profits made by the cheating done. In case you did not know, when the fines are miniscule of the profits made by the cheating it is called a slap on the wrists. Looks like compared to you I am an authority on this!

Didn't VW conduct illegal gas experiments on humans during WWII? Why the surprise?

Wrong Ben. You are saying VW is getting a slap on the wrist "cost of doing business" when in fact you have no clue. If you knew what it is costing them, you would tell me. And BTW I don't care what it is costing them, despite what you like to imagine. The purpose of my question was to see if you know what you are writing about. Your failure to answer my question will serve as the answer.


I did not elaborate on the cost because it can easily be found from various sources on the net(in the range of $30 billion).

Let me now tell me why I call it a slap in the wrists.

In 1998, a Swedish researcher criticized the NEDC standard for allowing large emission differences between test and reality. The Washington Post also reported that in the late 1990s, EPA engineers at Virginia Testing Laboratory had built a system called ROVER, designed to test a car's emissions on the road. The project was shut down in 2001, despite preliminary tests indicating gaps between emissions from lab tests and real world tests of about 10 to 20 percent

In 2011, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre published a report which found that all tested diesel vehicles emit 0.93 ± 0.39 g/km and that the tested Euro 5 diesel vehicles emit 0.62 ± 0.19 g/km. This substantially exceeds the respective Euro 3–5 emission limit. In 2013, the research center then warned:

VW Gross Income:
2013 - 33.48B
2014 - 33.88B
2015 - 35.3B
2016 - 42.37B

Now for simplicity let us say this has been going so since 2001 (since it might have well come to light in 2001, but for cover up), we can tag a Gross income of another 240B (20B for 12 years) to the above, making it a total Gross Income of around 380B.

Now look at market capitalisation on account of this cheating that the company would have gained and thus their executives (those in the know and senior management especially) very likely have made it out like bandits (Incidentally, I am not opposed to people making it out like bandits provided the premise is not cheating)

This is only money aspect of it. You cheat for years and then pay of a fine of around 10% of the Gross Income you have earned over the period you have cheated. We are discounting the moral aspect of it.

Now coming to my point about slap on the wrist, I was not only referring to the fines as a % of the income VW earned by fraudulent means. I was also talking about all the guys who have made out like bandits during this period. Guys who were involved in this should be jailed. Instead you have this..

"Who has been hurt by this corporate greed? From what I can see it's not the managers at VW, the ones who get paid huge salaries and large bonuses. As always it's the little guy," added the judge, referring to both Volkswagen customers and its blue-collar workers. (same source as above)

So a slap on the wrists in this case referred to being let off easily despite having committed a crime and did not mean only the monetary aspect of it. Incidentally VW is not alone in this. Banks are the obvious ones that come to mind.

My point is basically on the lawlessness of the whole thing. Paying fines and getting away with it is nothing but cost of doing business and ultimately increases lawlessness due to the notion you can get away with it by paying a fine. It creates moral hazard. Jail the guys and see what happens. Next time they will think twice before doing it. Now take this test on monkeys and humans (What is the difference in moral terms between this and Hitler's experiments?) . If we were to conduct tests on monkeys do you think we would get away, would not various agencies be after us. Now the guidelines should apply more strictly to corporate but it does not. That is the way law works.

"...And even if it had, sources close to them said, then they could expect moderate fines at the worst,..."
"...Cartel law experts like Thomas Funke, an attorney with the law firm Osborne Clarke, have so far had difficulty determining how high the fines could be if companies are found in violation of the rules...."

Again it is all about do fraud, pay fine and move on...

It was not involved in the animal experiments in question. The company has completely distanced itself from experiments on animals, as have BMW and Daimler. All three corporations have transferred or put on leave those employees who were responsible for the EUGT lobby group. Top executives, however, have not felt it necessary to admit any wrongdoing, though BMW has allowed that the company was slow in reacting.

VW has blamed the fiasco on "mistakes made by individuals," a standpoint the company has maintained throughout "dieselgate." And precisely that is VW's problem -- the constant attempts to dodge responsibility by blaming insignificant characters like the lobbyist Steg.

Start jailing the top executives in companies that commit fraud and then begins cleaning of the system. Till then, doing fraud will be the order of the day and fines will be just the cost of doing business! Think of the impact on society by allowing such unscrupulous elements to succeed (which they will till they get caught). Who pays for that... through diseases, healthcare costs and tax-payers (through tax increases). German Quality you can trust, my foot!

VW has blamed the fiasco on "mistakes made by individuals," But when it comes to the Top Management pocketing salaries and bonus on account of "mistakes made by individuals," because of which they sold cars, that stays banked. The temerity and the low moral standards of these depraved individuals is astounding indeed.

"The monkeys whose cages had been pumped full of exhaust from an old, red Ford pickup showed no significant inflammatory reaction, neither in their lungs nor in their upper respiratory tracts. Their condition contrasted sharply with those monkeys that had been exposed to the Beetle emissions, which showed signs of irritation resulting from the poisonous gas mixture."

That is you make cars knowing fully well that emissions are well above norms and sell it -- thereby putting humans at risk and polluting the environment and then you get off with a fine that is a small % of the profits made by fraudulent means, not to mention the leap in market capitalisation and pocketing of bonus and shares on account of this AND NO JAIL TERM. What is not to like in this fraud as the underlying theme for business. On top of this, it is also likely, as Germany cannot afford the car companies to go bankrupt (loss of jobs about which the top management is concerned you know - politicians would be concerned - after all it is votes!), it will be bailed out too. Sounds familiar. Yes, it is model for banksters too!