VW Attempting to Block Emissions Audit in Constitutional Court

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
vw attempting to block emissions audit in constitutional court

Volkswagen Group said on Thursday that it would be petitioning Germany’s constitutional court to overturn the appointment of a special auditor to investigate the actions of its management during its diesel emissions scandal. Appointed last November, the auditor’s goal is to establish whether or not VW’s top brass withheld information about the manipulation of vehicle emissions as they related to testing.

Even thought the automaker has said it wanted to improve transparency shortly after the scandal kicked off in September of 2015, Volkswagen wants the work of the auditor suspended prior to the constitutional-court hearing against it. This begs the question: Does VW still have something to hide or is it so fed up with the litigation surrounding “dieselgate” that it’ll do just about anything to keep officials from dredging up the past?

There are certainly reasons to suspect the former. Prosecuted employee Oliver Schmidt indicated that he was misused by the automaker during his trail, suggesting that the company advised him to cover up the truth. Likewise, longstanding Volkswagen pater familias Ferdinand Piëch outright said the firm’s executive board had been made aware of the illegal manipulation of diesel exhaust gasses months before the public disclosure — a claim which further strained his relationship with his clan.

However accusations, no matter how damning, aren’t proof. The automaker has said it would be heading to the constitutional court for appeal. According to Reuters, a previous attempt in the German town of Celle ruled that VW was ineligible. The automaker is now saying that decision was a violation of its rights.

In addition to the potentially criminal implications of the auditor’s findings, investor groups are seeking billions in damages from VW on the grounds that its executive management board was aware of emissions cheating and failed to disclose possible financial damages to investors in a timely manner. German securities law also requires companies to publish any market-sensitive news promptly.

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  • Brn Brn on Dec 29, 2017

    While I did wish the TTAC staff a Happy Holidays, I also said I'd continue to be critical. In that spirit... A professional writer should understand the term "begs the question".

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Dec 30, 2017

    Aw, it's just a bunch of diesel-chaser lawyers who want to get in on the payoff. Those poor Volkswagen executives have been through enough and have learned their lesson. Besides, they're not paying all those fines and penalties, the stockholders are. That's just going to lead to massive write-offs and reduced taxes collected. Considering they're never getting back the money they loaned Greece, it's in the German government's best interest to tie a bow on this scandal and stuff it in a closet.

  • FreedMike This article fails to mention that Toyota is also investing heavily in solid state battery tech - which would solve a lot of inherent EV problems - and plans to deploy it soon. https://insideevs.com/news/598046/toyota-global-leader-solid-state-batery-patents/Of course, Toyota being Toyota, it will use the tech in hybrids first, which is smart - that will give them the chance to iron out the wrinkles, so to speak. But having said that, I’m with Toyota here - I’m not sold on an all EV future happening anytime soon. But clearly the market share for these vehicles has nowhere to go but up; how far up depends mainly on charging availability. And whether Toyota’s competitors are all in is debatable. Plenty of bet-hedging is going on among makers in the North American market.
  • Jeff S I am not against EVs but I completely understand Toyota's position. As for Greenpeace putting Toyota at the bottom of their environmental list is more drama. A good hybrid uses less gas, is cleaner than most other ICE, and is more affordable than most EVs. Prius has proven longevity and low maintenance cost. Having had a hybrid Maverick since April and averaging 40 to 50 mpg in city driving it has been smooth driving and very economical. Ford also has very good hybrids and some of the earlier Escapes are still going strong at 300k miles. The only thing I would have liked in my hybrid Maverick would be a plug in but it didn't come with it. If Toyota made a plug in hybrid compact pickup like the Maverick it would sell well. I would consider an EV in the future but price, battery technology, and infrastructure has to advance and improve. I don't buy a vehicle based on the recommendation of Greenpeace, as a status symbol, or peer pressure. I buy a vehicle on what best needs my needs and that I actually like.
  • Mobes Kind of a weird thing that probably only bothers me, but when you see someone driving a car with ball joints clearly about to fail. I really don't want to be around a car with massive negative camber that's not intentional.
  • Jeff S How reliable are Audi? Seems the Mazda, CRV, and Rav4 in the higher trim would not only be a better value but would be more reliable in the long term. Interior wise and the overall package the Mazda would be the best choice.
  • Pickles69 They have a point. All things (or engines/propulsion) to all people. Yet, when the analogy of being, “a department store,” of options is used, I shudder. Department stores are failing faster than any other retail. Just something to chew on.