Even if Volkswagen has not yet been “punished” by the German government over the automaker’s emissions cheating scheme, a report says prosecutors are asking for a fine.
The German government has been so far “immune” towards Volkswagen, in the problem of the manipulation trick of diesel emissions tests for around 11 million cars. The Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said last week the appropriate approach to mend the harm was just to force the automaker to bring the vehicles within regulatory NOx limits. Therefore, Volkswagen seems not to be in danger of paying any fines in Germany, as authorities have been very careful not to disturb one of the biggest employers in the country. Fortunately, prosecutors from the regional court of Braunschweig in the automaker’s home state of Lower Saxony believe otherwise. According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily newspaper, they are now seeking for pecuniary penalties by assessing the “economic advantage” VW benefited from by using bypass engine software rather than spending money on the development of cleaner technologies.
The prosecutors have also opened an investigation against former CEO Martin Winterkorn and brand chief Herbert Diess in June, for manipulating the markets by not disclosing earlier information about the cheating and financial implications of the Dieselgate.
Even if the German government thinks a recall is satisfactory, an European consumer group recently pointed out that the proposed and approved fixes are not even appropriate to make the affected cars compliant. According to the European Consumer Organisation, tests made on the Audi Q5 showed NOx emissions were still 25 percent higher after the removal of illegal defeat device software.