How did VW not see this coming?

Last week was not good for Volkswagen (VW): an estimated $18bn fine, executives potentially facing criminal charges, a 20% drop in share price and a reputation in shatters.
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Written By: Kimberley Clare Ogden

Picture Credit: Julius Kielaitis

In terms of brand reputation, VW had it all. So how could it be so reckless?
Since the '90s, VW has been actively played in a role in clean diesel and the subsequent increase in diesel car sales. In our eco-friendly and health conscious world, low-emission cars are gaining popularity and VW's apparent readiness to lead the way has boosted its reputation as a considerate, value-based brand.
VW's ability to adapt to consumer concerns and priorities has meant that it has retained globally, lifelong customers. Motorists who trust the company and have invested time, money and made emotional connections with the brand. Consider people's love of the Beetle and iconic Campervan.
Now, VW's loyal following is divided: some who will continue to stick by the company, acting as brand advocates, actively defending it. And those who feel cheated, lied to and let down by a brand which seemed to hold the same values as them.
But how did this all come about? How was this situation even allowed to happen? At some point, there must have been a board-level decision made, to cheat the tests. Not only does this throw questions about the company's values, but also shows how at board-level, there is or was, no consideration for VW's reputation. And should there be a leak about its actions, its future.