Faster, Higher, Farther by Jack Ewing of the New York Times

I've followed the auto industry pretty closely for the past 6 years and even worked some on a Volkswagen project, but I was still shocked by this book. Ewing makes a compelling case that Volkswagen's recent shenanigans are part of a long pattern of deception, and that no one should have expected anything different given the Porsche-Piëch family's domination of the company throughout its existence. The contrast with the Ford family's stewardship of their namesake company could not be starker.

Ewing's account feels a bit premature, given that new revelations about the illegal behavior of VW, its contractor Bosch and its frenemies at Daimler and BMW continue to appear. Nonetheless, Ewing's account of the patient and persistent efforts of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employees in Los Angeles and graduate students in West Virginia to pry information out of VW makes for a surprisingly readable narrative. The epic tale of the power struggles within the Piëch-Porsche family is also a more colorful story than one might expect.

U.S. readers are bound to feel chagrin at the depth of the disdain that V.W. and, especially, Audi management felt for U.S. autobuyers and environmental regulators. The unfortunate relationship of environmental regulations to restraint of trade is made all too clear. Ewing has clearly invested the time to interview all the parties involved in the 'Abgasskandal', so his book is a must-read for anyone interested in the recent history of the industry.

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