The auto industry’s diesel emissions cheating scandal has now reached Europe. German police arrested a Porsche senior manager after raiding Porsche and Audi offices in search of documents related to the investigation. German officials are also probing a number of other Porsche executives and employees on allegations of fraud and false advertising. The latest developments suggest that the scandal which originally centered on Volkswagen’s core division has spread to its other brands.
In 2015, Volkswagen conceded that it had installed software in approximately 11 million cars sold worldwide to produce false results on pollution tests. The devices would provide false readings of emissions levels while the car was in test mode and then continue to emit illegal levels of emissions into the atmosphere once testing had concluded. The “Clean Diesel” cars were marketed by Volkswagen in the United States as using clean diesel technology. The actual emissions output of about 10.5 million vehicles worldwide and 580,000 in the United Sates was alarmingly higher than what the devices had been reporting.
The Environmental Protection Agency released information related to Volkswagens’ admission of wrongdoing, which affected primarily its own VW cars. At the same time, German regulators were conducting their own investigation for alleged violations of the law. Upon the resignation of Volkswagen’s CEO, the chairman of Porsche, a VW subsidiary, stepped in to assume the role.
The government initiated a lawsuit in 2016 against Volkswagen alleging that the automaker committed fraud and violated EPA regulations. The lawsuit settled in October and VW was ordered to pay $15.3 billion and install properly functioning software in the affected vehicles or retrieve cars from customers. Many experts suspected that other manufacturers were also complicit in installing similar devices. This was confirmed in 2017 when German regulators investigated luxury car brands Porsche and Daimler for installing emission cheating devices. Audi and Chrysler have also been the subject of similar allegations.
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