Here Are 77 Countries With a GDP Less Than the Volkswagen Settlement

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
here are 77 countries with a gdp less than the volkswagen settlement

Imagine for a second that the cash Volkswagen must now spend to get itself out of trouble in the U.S. was a pile. It would be a great day for tobogganing.

The initial settlement for the diesel emissions scandal — vehicle buyback, compensation, make-the-air-nice-again programs — rings in at $14.7 billion, but the automaker has roughly $18 billion set aside to handle all of the American fallout.

When it comes to cash, the bigger the number, the harder it is to imagine what that figure really looks like. What could it buy? How many bananas is that? Well, there are countries that make less money in a year than Volkswagen, maker of the Jetta, just paid out to one country. (Keep in mind, there’s more countries waiting in the wings for their cash.)

Using data from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (April 2016), here are the countries that undercut today’s payout in terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product:

Syria (Nil)

Tuvalu ($0.032 billion)

Kiribati ($0.159 billion)

Marshall Islands ($0.184 billion)

Palau ($0.302 billion)

Micronesia ($0.325 billion)

São Tomé and Príncipe ($0.349 billion)

Tonga ($0.414 billion)

Dominica ($0.521 billion)

Comoros ($0.609 billion)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines ($0.784 billion)

Vanuatu ($0.799 billion)

Samoa ($0.865 billion)

The Gambia ($0.886 billion)

St. Kitts and Nevis ($0.945 billion)

Grenada ($1.000 billion)

Guinea-Bissau ($1.136 billion)

Solomon Islands ($1.202 billion)

Antigua and Barbuda ($1.332 billion)

St. Lucia ($1.425 billion)

Seychelles ($1.427 billion)

San Marino ($1.569 billion)

Cabo Verde ($1.625 billion)

Lesotho ($1.766 billion)

Belize ($1.807 billion)

Central African Republic ($1.819 billion)

Djibouti ($1.903 billion)

Timor-Leste ($2.100 billion)

Liberia ($2.106 billion)

Bhutan ($2.475 billion)

Burundi ($2.772 billion)

South Sudan ($3.074 billion)

Maldives ($3.282 billion)

Guyana ($3.335 billion)

Swaziland ($3.391 billion)

Sierra Leone ($4.095 billion)

Montenegro ($4.182 billion)

Suriname ($4.336 billion)

Togo ($4.405 billion)

Barbados ($4.498 billion)

Mauritania ($4.541 billion)

Fiji ($4.964 billion)

Malawi ($5.347 billion)

Eritrea ($5.352 billion)

Kyrgyz Republic ($6.030 billion)

Moldova ($6.084 billion)

Tajikistan ($6.245 billion)

Kosovo ($6.471 billion)

Guinea ($6.569 billion)

Niger ($7.510 billion)

Equatorial Guinea ($7.884 billion)

Haiti ($8.160 billion)

Republic of Congo ($8.364 billion)

Rwanda ($8.490 billion)

The Bahamas ($8.917 billion)

Benin ($9.062 billion)

Brunei Darussalam ($9.097 billion)

Madagascar ($9.524 billion)

Chad ($10.096)

Malta ($10.341 billion)

FYR Macedonia ($10.424 billion)

Armenia ($10.774 billion)

Namibia ($11.210 billion)

Mongolia ($11.652 billion)

Mauritius ($11.865 billion)

Burkina Faso ($11.872 billion)

Albania ($12.269 billion)

Mozambique ($12.505 billion)

Botswana ($12.701 billion)

Nicaragua ($12.903 billion)

Lao P.D.R. ($13.359 billion)

Georgia ($13.942 billion)

Jamaica ($14.057 billion)

Gabon ($14.166 billion)

Mali ($14.198 billion)

Senegal ($14.572 billion)

Zimbabwe ($14.659 billion)

But wait – there’s more! Volkswagen expects to get hit with more penalties — the Justice Department and a majority of U.S. states all want to get their shots in, and financial regulators could come along with their own fines. It’s doubtful there’ll be any change left over from Volkswagen’s $18 billion penance pile.

So, by upping the total U.S. payout to that eventual number (which could go higher), we add more countries to the list:

Papua New Guinea ($15.615 billion)

Bosnia and Herzegovina ($16.324 billion)

Afghanistan ($17.275 billion)

Iceland ($18.633 billion)

That’s right, a German car company will likely have to spend the equivalent of Iceland’s annual GDP to get itself out of a scandal in the U.S. It’s breathtaking, and makes you wonder what some of Iceland’s exports are. Fish, probably. And Aurora Borealis photos.

The bulk of the automaker’s dirty diesels didn’t end up in U.S. hands, so after all 11 million vehicles are recalled, fixed or crushed, and all applicable fines, penalties and lawsuits settled, Volkswagen could find itself paying Paraguay levels of cash for its misdeeds. Hell, maybe even Serbia.

[Image: Mark Doliner/ Flickr]

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3 of 31 comments
  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.
  • Stuart de Baker This is depressing, and I don't own one of these.