That article explains a lot.
So, VW hired a top engineer away from Daimler to revamp the VW line. He brought in clean-diesel technology ("BlueTec") licensed from Daimler, but the engineers at VW hated the idea of licensing technology from a rival, because they said they could do just as good with the turbocharged direct injection designs that they'd been working on for years. Nevertheless, VW went through with an engine design with the licensed BlueTec, made a prototype engine... and then the CEO got pushed out, the chief engineer got pushed out a month later, and the new CEO put the engineers who'd opposed licensing outside technology in charge of making a new VW clean-diesel engine and cancelled the license from Daimler. So, they had essentially doubled down on the bet that they could do just as good on efficiency and NOx emissions without licensing the Daimler BlueTec, And right as they did that, the new CEO announced ambitious targets for selling clean diesels in the US.
The story is beginning to make a bit more sense now.