Down the road, the image loss is huge. Volkswagen scandal will be included in the future business texts as a case study with Volkswagen name in it; law students will find the brand in cheating case studies; software engineers will study this as an ethics case in software development; corporate practitioners will be referring to VW as how corporate leaders fail in upholding business ethics—and so on. The image cost is enormous, probably beyond US$ 82 billion.
So what? So are the histories of many renowned brands that had scandals in the past. Big corporations have a history of getting away with big scandals. Almost nobody served jail time for the Wall Street fiasco, the Ford Pinto’s gas tank failures, the General Motor’s ignition switch disaster, or Toyota’s sudden acceleration defects, or any number of other corporate-driven criminal or damaging activities. With great lawyers, dilly dally tactics, political connections, lobbyists and power projection at right places—all these add up to cost and face savings in the long-run. With future innovation and wider consumer acceptance, connected by the “system” support, some day consumers will forget and forgive these issues. Brands will follow its course with its corporate parents who were not as honest as expected.