Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Volkswagen Charged for Emission Test Rigging

No. 1 Global carmaker in sales...Volkswagen scandal... 11 million vehicles affected worldwide...faking emissions tests...$18bn Potential fines

Volkswagen is facing multiple investigations in the United States, including, reports say, a criminal probe from the Department of Justice. They follow an admission by VW that it deceived US regulators during exhaust emissions tests.
A DoJ criminal investigation would be serious, as federal authorities can bring charges with severe penalties against a firm and individuals. Late on Tuesday New York state's top lawyer announced an investigation. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he will collaborate with other states to enforce consumer and environmental law.
 "No company should be allowed to evade our environmental laws or promise consumers a fake bill of goods," Mr Schneiderman said in a statement announcing the probe.
Meanwhile the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board are investigating the way VW cheated tests to measure the amount of pollutants coming from its diesel cars.
Volkswagen claimed 11 million vehicles worldwide are involved and it is setting aside €6.5bn (euros) to cover costs of the scandal.
According to Bloomberg and AFP, the Department of Justice is looking into the issue, which raises the possibility of the company and individual executives facing criminal charges.mHowever, the DoJ often extracts hefty payments from companies to settle criminal charges.

 Volkswagen is due to hold a supervisory board meeting on Friday. But reports say that chief executive Martin Winterkorn will appear before a select group of board members before then, possibly later on Wednesday.  On Tuesday Mr Winterkorn issued a fresh apology for the test-rigging, saying he was "endlessly sorry" for the "manipulation".
Earlier, the boss of Volkswagen's US business, Michael Horn, admitted the firm "totally screwed up".
Cars and the environment - two things that Germany cares so deeply about that they form part of the national character. So Germans are shocked to discover that for years the country's mightiest car manufacturer Volkswagen has been rigging environmental tests for diesel emissions in the US.
One German newspaper has called it the "most expensive act of stupidity in the history of the car industry". It's stupid because manipulating pollution data to boost sales can only be seen as a slap in the face to customers who paid a premium for what they thought was a greener car.
Since the company owned up, its shares have plummeted by more than a third in just two days.
In a world that is finally becoming aware of climate change and how to protect our environment, this is a huge setback. The only positive view is that VW being caught, criminally charged and liable for an enormous settlement may discourage other big corporations from trying to pull the wool over consumers eyes.
As Abraham Lincoln so wisely quoted: "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

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