VW senior managers were reportedly warned about US diesel probe in May 2014

VW senior managers were reportedly warned about US diesel probe in May 2014

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag revealed in a Sunday report that the senior managers at the bigwig European automaker -- including its former CEO Martin Winterkorn -- had received an internal letter, by a high-ranking VW employee, warning them about a possible US diesel probe.

The warning letter by the high-ranking VW employee -- internally known as 'Winterkorn's fireman' -- was sent out in May 2014 -- more than one year before VW's US diesel emissions scandal came to light in September 2015.

According to the details shared by two unidentified sources, VW senior managers had been officially notified by 'Winterkorn's fireman' about a possible diesel-engine investigation by US regulators. Via a written letter, 'Winterkorn's fireman' had sounded an alert to VW's senior managers that the software installed in the automaker's diesel cars could be examined by US regulators while probing into pollution levels.

However, even though the VW senior managers had been alerted to the possibility of a probe by US regulators, the automaker publicly acknowledged -- in September 2015 -- that the 'defeat device' software installed in its diesel cars could manipulate the results of US emission tests.

With the warning letter by 'Winterkorn's fireman' having been uncovered as part of an investigation by law firm Jones Day, which is carrying out VW's internal probe into the emissions scandal, the newspaper said: "It can be assumed that the authorities will investigate VW systems to establish whether Volkswagen has implemented test-recognition software."

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