The complaint filed by the US authorities against Volkswagen is not to the liking of all German politicians, as they are worried a potential fine will endanger jobs.
The US Justice Department filed this week a civil complaint against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche for alleged Clean Air Act Violations. VW could in theory face fines exceeding 48 billion dollars – or as much as 37,500 dollars per vehicle per violation of the law, based on the complaint. As expected, the news has not been well received in Germany, as politicians are trying to protect as much as possible the country’s largest carmaker, which has some 270,000 employees in Germany. And such a massive lawsuit claim in the US is a big hit on Volkswagen’s attempts to dress its brand image, coming exactly when the company was hopeful it was starting to make some progress in tackling the scandal. “Of course the news from the United States is worrying to those who are concerned about securing jobs in the German automotive industry,” said Hubertus Heil, deputy head of the Social Democrats (SPD) in the German lower house of parliament. The SPD is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition.
Also, the deputy parliamentary leader for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives said that the actions taken by US authorities against Volkswagen could give US automakers an advantage over their German rivals. “Due to the massive claims against VW that are now out there, I’m starting to suspect that the American authorities are running the risk of pursuing an aggressive industrial policy that favors the US automobile industry to the detriment of our German automobile industry,” Michael Fuchs told Reuters.