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

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
  • Scott Mopar4wdthanks for those stats. But if 40% of suv buyers are 65+ that is not a long term strategyat 70 I’m perhaps not germane as I have only 2 cars now and replace only when they’re stolen
  • Mopar4wd I think the real question is when every EV can be optioned to be startlingly fast, you need something else to differentiate. Handling features etc, outright acceleration may not be as much a measure as it once was. That's the real problem I see for Dodge, their best bet would seem to be making them look way better than the competition.
  • Dukeisduke The wheelcovers with all the little round holes are from Pontiac, like the Catalina.
  • DungBeetle62 "Mark III would make its branding as exclusive as possible... " Meanwhile, 40 years on down the road every single Lincoln product was "MK _____"
  • FreedMike It is kind of refreshing to see an off-roader that is focused on the basics of off-roading, versus convincing its’ owner that he’s the real-life incarnation of the Punisher, and the owner of the largest penis in human history.