The egregious cheating on emissions causes me to ask what the differences are between the US and Europe both culturally and legally. Specifically there is no legislation protecting whistle-blowers from retaliation in the EU and Germany as there is in the US, but I don't know how much that would have affected the outcome. I may be wrong in assuming that a whistle-blower would have emerged if someone at Ford or GM tried to pull off a cheat like this, but I think there is enough to discuss about legislative incentives for or against whistle-blowing and whether legislation would even be effective, given cultural norms.
What factors contributed to or discouraged whistle-blowing in the VW Emissions Scandal?
There have been two US employees who have been identified as whistle-blowers for VW in the time since I posted this question. Daniel Donovan filed a lawsuit alleging retaliation, which was later withdrawn. The head of VW’s Engineering and Environmental Office in the US Stuart Johnson has also been identified as a whistle-blower.
VW offered a window of amnesty to any employees who came forward with information in November 2015. It also appears that in 2017 VW created an investigation office where employees can report violations.