Volkswagen will pay a $1.2 billion fine for cheating on engine emissions testing. The decision was recently announced by the company and German public prosecutors. Both sides are hoping to put the scandal to rest with the settlement.
Volkswagen’s actions had a serious impact on the automobile industry and significantly impacted the sale of diesel engine vehicles.
The fine is one of the largest ever imposed in Germany. It was somewhat voluntary and came as a result of Volkswagen’s attempt to hide factual information from the industry and consumers.
According to German prosecutors, nearly 11 million Volkswagen vehicles in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world were affected. These vehicles were sold to consumers “with an impermissible software function” during an eight year period between 2007 and 2015.
Volkswagen acknowledged the fine in a recently issued statement saying, “Volkswagen accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.”
Volkswagen Admits to Cheating on Emissions Tests
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted it had been rigging millions of its diesel engines to pass emissions testing.
The company stated that diesel Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles were rigged to appear as if they were meeting clean air standards. The company used software that made emissions seem less toxic, when in reality they were not meeting standards.
As a result of the admission of cheating, the company’s stock prices plunged and consumers lost confidence in diesel technology. Volkswagen issued a recall and was forced to deal with legal action. Penalties, settlements, and the recall ultimately cost the company more than $30 billion. The company’s reputation was also damaged and a number of protests were launched to call attention to the misdeeds.
Volkswagen Officials Face Criminal Charges
There are a number of civil proceedings still in progress that are not affected by the German fine. Additionally, nearly 50 people associated with the company are the subjects of criminal investigations in the country.
Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s former chief executive officer, was recently indicted on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud US consumers and violations of the Clean Air Act. In addition to Winterkorn, two of the company’s engineers and five others have been charged with emissions cheating in the United States.
Volkswagen is hoping the fine will put much of the incident behind it, opening the door to building goodwill with the public once again.