Volkswagen Raided Again Over Diesel Emissions Scandal

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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volkswagen raided again over diesel emissions scandal

German prosecutors raided Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters on Tuesday, continuing their prolonged quest to bust the automaker over a diesel emission scandal that has been more or less settled in the United States since 2017.

Germany must want to do an incredibly thorough job of investigating the automaker — it’s difficult to imagine raiding the same offices over and over being all that fun, especially after VW formally confessed its malfeasance in other parts of the world. However, according to Reuters, prosecutors might be looking for something different this time around. Volkswagen has said it is still cooperating with authorities, but described its latest surprise encounter with them as unfounded.

From Reuters:

Volkswagen said the raids were linked to an investigation into diesel cars with engine type EA 288, a successor model to the EA 189 which was at the heart of the test cheating scandal.

The carmaker said it had itself disclosed the issue at the center of the new investigation — which is targeting individual employees — to the relevant registration authorities.

In simulations, vehicles with the EA 288 engine did not indicate a failure of the diesel filter, while still complying with emissions limits, Volkswagen said, adding the engine did not have an illegal defeat device.

Considering the scope of the company’s diesel-related screw-up, we don’t want to give them the benefit of the doubt. VW’s story changes all the time depending on which country you’re in. The automaker recently told a British courtroom overseeing a civil suit that the defeat device designed to fool regulators — installed in millions of vehicles — was actually software intended to update cars to be compliant with EU emission laws, not to breach testing protocols.

But Germany has really been dragging its feet on this. Many have criticized the country for being soft on the automaker, though the real issue seems to be how slowly it’s moving. Action is still being taken, just at a snail’s pace. German prosecutors have been eyeballing (and raiding) high-ranking executives that fled the company after the company was exposed for ages — charging some with acts that could require some real jail time.

Former VW head Martin Winterkorn was charged with fraud in April, an accusation that could end in a ten-year sentence if he’s convicted. Still, he’s far from the only VW Group staffer under the microscope of justice; the latest raid saw prosecutors leaving with more corporate documents that could serve as ammunition in the courtroom.

[Image: U.J. Alexander/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 04, 2019

    The EA288 was the new diesel just introduced into the US for the 2015 model year. My memory, which may be faulty, recalls that few of these were actually sold in the US and sat at dockside awaiting late EPA approval even before the big scandal began in September that year. But they were found to be fiddled with as well. The series were being sold in Europe though for some time. VW can't keep its story straight between countries, as you say. Must be some nefarious advantage to it for VW because the EU is governed by one type approval standard, so why they should hand out different excuses in different countries in that Union is beyond my ken. If it's been found to be bad in one place, it's bad everywhere. Remember the $1.29 intake airflow straightener that cured all ills that Europeans were offered as the cure for all ills just after the begining of the scandal? Well, that was a piece of arcane BS if there ever was one, I must say. What an outfit.

  • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Dec 04, 2019

    Angela Merkel said that Germany must oppose strong speech or they will lose their free society. Either she doesn't know what words mean, or she is a typical Marxist lying to end freedom. If you want to force everyone into trying to replace the cars of 2019 with the cars of 1905, you're going to have to break a few eggs.

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  • Kwik_Shift I definitely like the looks of the newest 300s over the Chargers.
  • SCE to AUX "Should car companies shack up with tech giants in order to produce legible infotainment systems and the like? Or should they go it alone?"Great question(s).The River Rouge days are gone, where Ford produced whole cars out of raw materials entering the plant at the other end. Nearly everything is outsourced these days - sometimes well, sometimes disastrously.But the problem with infotainment systems is that they are integrated with the car's operation. VW has delayed entire products for issues with infotainment.For me, the question boils down to a contractual arrangement - who owns and maintains the code forever? Since more and more of the car's function is tied to the infotainment system, I'd argue that the car mfr needs to own it - especially the larger ones.Do mfrs really want to share intellectual property with Huawei just to fast-track some code they've managed themselves in the past?
  • Kwi65728132 I always did like the styling of the 300C and it was on my short list for a new (to me) rear wheel drive, naturally aspirated V8 luxury sedan but I found a Hyundai Equus that was better optioned than any 300C I could find and for several grand less.