Almost five years ago, the world woke up to accusations against Volkswagen for cheating diesel emissions regulations. What became known as, Dieselgate, ended up throwing Volkswagen a curveball into their future plans. The company had to instead concentrate on finding a way to satisfy diesel requirements with its cars, and to consider how to pay for what was anticipated to be a long and pricey legal battle at the government and consumer level. All these years later, Dieselgate continues. The investigations into the Volkswagen situation has prosecutors now searching the offices of suppliers.
Volkswagen investigation scope broadens to more suppliers
On Wednesday, German prosecutors extended their investigation to include the offices of Continental. According to Reuters, Continental provides engine components to Volkswagen. The report goes on to say that 76 police officers and four prosecutors searched offices in the seven German cities of Hanover, Regensburg, Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Berlin, Frankfurt, and Nuernberg.
According to the Detroit News, in 2015, “Continental said in 2015, it had never delivered software to clients intended for cheating, and the company reiterated that statement on Wednesday.” Prosecutor, Oliver Eisenhauer, said “We are investigating employees of Continental for abetting fraud and for providing false documentation.” Seven engineers and two project leaders are accused of falsifying records. Continental is cooperating with authorities.
Dieselgate started in 2015
Der Spiegel reported in 2015 that at least 30 people at the management level in Volkswagen knew about the deceit for years, which Volkswagen denied in 2015. Nonetheless, the investigation began and is broadening, including more and more suppliers now. Some legal cases have been resolved. Some have not.
The exposure of the whole situation caused Volkswagen to reevaluate its involvement with diesel engine programs worldwide at the time. Consequently, the company looked at electrification more closely. Since then, the company has entered into collaborations with Ford on various electric technology and platforms. However, legal cases have not magically gone away. Instead, here we are with new office raids happening.
Volkswagen is paying for it
On Friday, in Germany, Volkswagen agreed to pay $912 million dollars to nearly 500,000 owners who claimed devaluation of their vehicles as a result of the diesel emissions cheating scandal. This is in addition to $14.7 billion it has agreed to pay to consumers in the United States as part of a class-action lawsuit settlement back in 2016. Individual consumer legal battles are still ongoing, as is a class-action lawsuit in the UK.
New Volkswagen factory in Turkey shelved
In 2019, Volkswagen put plans to create a new manufacturing facility in Turkey on hold. The claim from the manufacturer for the hold was that it did not like the position the country was taking with military operations in Syria. Although that may or may not be true, Volkswagen announced Wednesday that it would not build the factory after all. That announcement came just a few days after the German class-action lawsuit was agreed to. That, of course, leads to speculation that Volkwagen is attempting to reign in the purse strings where it can in order to limp along.
The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal continues to slowly wind its way through the legal systems of multiple countries and continents. One day, it will all end. But, in the meantime, the company will pay the consequences of cheating one slow day after another. So will the suppliers involved.