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September 22, 2015
Volkswagen At the Crisis PR Podium
 
There’s an element of drama in the crisis communication statement by Volkswagen’s CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn over allegations that VW used “cheat software” when its diesel cars were being tested under U.S. emission requirements. “We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law,” Winterkorn declared.

Well, we’ll see. But in crisis communication terms, the most desirable thing to do in a situation like this is to avoid the crisis in the first place. That is, to test cars honestly. No amount of verbiage can obscure that imperative.

If Volkswagen didn’t know how its cars were being tested to meet U.S. emission standards, it should have. We’ll see how this plays out, a chagrined corporate statement notwithstanding.

(Now there are reports that Dr. Winterkorn is about to be ousted from VW.)

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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