It's A Perfect Car: Pranking VW

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Brodkin's timely reminder that corporate powers don't get off that easy. Getty Images.
In a slick protest and righteous reminder that Volkswagen has yet to leave behind its Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, British activist and comedian Simon Brodkin sabotaged a VW presentation at the Geneva Motor Show Tuesday. As marketing chief Juergen Stackmann sang the praises of their new electrically powered Up! models, Brodkin ambled onto the stage in VW-branded overalls, wielding a wrench and prop labelled "cheat box," and began climbing under the car to "fix it." "It's okay, I have the new cheat box," he calmly explained to the bewildered Stackmann. "No one’s going to find out about this one.”

Last September, the EPA discovered that bogus emission software had been installed in millions of VW vehicles that were in fact emitting up to 35 times the level of nitrous oxides allowed in the U.S. In the wake of the scandal and its CEO’s blundering response, Volkswagen's share price dropped over a third, it fired much of its upper management, and it faced worldwide protests, most notably from a Greenpeace campaign that blasted its lies and willingness to contribute to climate change for profit. It also got its own Hitler parody, never a good sign. On Tuesday, as Stackmann tried to haul him out from under the car - "It doesn't need a repair, it's a perfect car" - Brodkin referenced VW's hapless CEO with, “Mr. Müller says it’s okay as long as no one finds out.” Except it's not, and, thankfully, they did.

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Greenpeace protests outside VW's German offices. EPA photo.

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