Probing Continues at Volkswagen, Continental

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

German prosecutors have incorporated Continental into a probe aimed at determining whether Volkswagen Group cheated on emissions testing. While confessing to the crime in the United States years earlier is a fairly good indication of corporate guilt, Germany wants to make extra sure VW was in the wrong and has branched out its investigation to include suppliers that may have played a role.

On Wednesday, the automaker acknowledged it had been subjected to yet another probe after investigators arrived to comb through its offices. The same treatment was given to supplier Continental, which is suspected of having some sort of involvement in a scandal the automotive industry can’t quite seem to move on from.

Local authorities stated that 76 police officers, led by 4 investigators, flipped facilities in Hanover, Regensburg, Wolfsburg, Gifhorn, Berlin, Frankfurt and Nuernberg to determine how VW’s 1.6-liter diesel engine managed to circumvent testing requirements and pollute at greater-then-allowed levels once they hit the road.

Volkswagen, which has already settled in Brunswick after offering initial pushback in 2019, claimed it was only serving as a helpful observer this time. Still, there exists loads of pending litigation, as well as other municipalities that would love to fine it. Hanover prosecutors are among that group, and still have an open investigation into VW — though they admit the focus in the latest probe is the supplier.

“We are investigating employees of Continental for abetting fraud and for providing false documentation,” Prosecutor Oliver Eisenhauer told Reuters in a statement, noting that numerous engineers and a couple of project leaders are among the accused. A compliance officer and other executives were said to be helping with the investigation.

Will this be the event that finally settles things in Deutschland? We sincerely doubt it. Despite German authorities showing a willingness to investigate anything and everything, Dieselgate seems unabating. If you think the wheels of justice move slow here, then you haven’t followed our rolling reports of the diesel-relating probing going down in Germany. At their current rate of progress, they’ll be hunting for dirty executives and corporate accomplices long after we’re dead and buried.

Yet things haven’t exactly wrapped in the United States, either.

Last month, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that some counties would be eligible to continue bringing civil suits to Volkswagen’s door. Other countries have taken similar action, leaving the automaker to offer its best defense on countless fronts before offering the obligatory settlement deal. There’s not much else it can do when its best counter argument involves acting like this was all an accident — especially since it already confessed to the crime half a decade ago.

[Image: Gyuszko-Photo/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • StudeDude StudeDude on Jul 02, 2020

    Lincoln should seize the day and use the new RWD architecture Ford has developed to do a new Continental. Which is what they were supposed to do anyway until everyone at Ford gave up on cars. Make it hybrid, make it electric, have it equipped with a V8, I don't care but do it even though it may be a niche product. And do it with suicide doors which looks to be a luxury car thing as proven by the special edition Continental. The market will turn eventually from crossovers because no market remains the same forever. Be prepared and have something that Cadillac and company can only dream about.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jul 02, 2020

    This Continental was a half-assed effort from the start, being based on the FWD Fusion. Almost as bad as the FN9 cars. Lincoln teased us with concepts like the Continental concept of 2002, but eventually gave us this thing.

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