Volkswagen emission scandal- Probe initiated against CEO
German authorities have initiated a probe against Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller and others for market manipulation in the emission sandal. Authorities stated that Mueller stands accused of "knowingly delaying the release of information with financial consequences for Porsche SE", the holding company for Volkswagen. It spells fresh trouble for the company and management after the debacle with the US Department of Justice.
Volkswagen cars' high pollution rates
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), in a 2013-2014 research project in collaboration with West Virginia university, showed that certain Volkswagen cars were emitting much more pollution than they were supposed to, prompting an EPA investigation in 2014. VW claimed to have fixed the issue, but real-world tests could not match up to lab tests. This prompted regulators to investigate the discrepancy further.
Volkswagen cheating since 2008
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused Volkswagen of cheating emission tests via the use of a "defeat device" in certain car models. The device includes an intricate code which turns on the pollution-control system of a car when it is being tested for emissions, while the car spews higher levels of pollutants otherwise. The company was charged under the Clean Air Act (CAA).
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns
The Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn resigned on 23 September 2015. Winterkorn said in a statement, "As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities...even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part." After the scandal was uncovered, Volkswagen admitted that 11 million cars were affected worldwide. VW also said that it had put aside $7.3 billion for reparations.
Volkswagen appoints new CEO
Porsche chief, Matthias Muller was appointed as the new CEO of Volkswagen on 25 September 2015, after Winterkorn's resignation. Muller said that he would leave "no stone unturned" in the investigation of the scandal, and that his primary aim was to restore the reputation of the Volkswagen Group which is the number one global carmaker in sales terms, with 80 million customers worldwide.
US DoJ files $20 billion lawsuit against VW
The United States Department of Justice has filed a law suit against Volkswagen, alleging that 600,000 diesel vehicles across all it's brands had illegal devices that allowed them to fake emission tests. DoJ officials stated that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling illegally modified cars. The DoJ will seek $37,500 per car and $2750 per device, totaling over $20 billion in fines.
Volkswagen: $4.3 billion settlement in US emissions case
Volkswagen confirmed that the company came to a $4.3 billion settlement with US authorities over the emissions scandal; the company said it would plead guilty to criminal misconduct. The company added that an independent monitor would oversee operations for the next three years. The plea and the settlement are part of a deal with the Justice Department, which a judge would need to approve.
Volkswagen gets 3 years probation, $2.8 billion fine
A federal judge sentenced Volkswagen AG to be under independent oversight for 3 years. The judge also approved a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of the sentencing. The case is over VW's diesel emission cheating in the US, which the judge called a "deliberate and massive fraud." VW's counsel Manfred Doess said the company "regrets the behaviour that gave rise to this case."