The VW Files – Anatomy of a Scandal


The film gives us an understanding of how fraud becomes endemic within a major German company, driven by its mission to become the world leader, at any costs.

28th June 2015: Volkswagen sells 5.04 million vehicles in the first six months of the year. Company director Martin Winterkorn announced the success: Volkswagen becomes the world’s largest automaker. The number 1. Mission accomplished. 77 years after its founding.

18th September 2015, three months later: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces that for years VW has manipulated emission test results by installing ‘defeat device’ software. A total of 11 million vehicles are affected. VW has to pay billions. Martin Winterkorn resigns.

Two events in three months – rarely have rise and fall of a big company been so close to one another. And now we know: VW’s place on the winner’s podium was a result of cheating pollution emissions.  How could this happen? And: Why did no one prevent it?

Based on the current scandal, the film retells the story of Volkswagen (VW). It recalls the founding of the car company by Adolf Hitler and its resurgence after the war, and reveals the interaction of politics, trade unions and management influence, coupled with the ‘Fuehrer’ principle, bribery scandals and misunderstandings, that led to its downfall.