Volkswagen's Dieselgate Concludes in the U.S.

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagens dieselgate concludes in the u s

Volkswagen Group appears to have completed the terms laid out by the U.S. Department of Justice after it decided the automaker required some oversight in the wake of the 2015 emissions fiasco (colloquially known as Dieselgate). VW was found guilty of equipping certain models with emissions-cheating software that would allow the car to run cleaner under testing conditions (passing regulations) and dirtier, with better performance, the rest of the time.

The con was brilliant and allowed VW to fool regulators for years until it all blew up in its face. Getting caught in the United States kicked off a chain reaction that cost the automaker a fortune globally. In May, VW estimated it had spent €31.3 billion ($34.40 billion USD) in fines and settlements and fines globally — adding that it expects to bleed another €4.1 billion through 2021. But the company was certainly happy to announce on Monday that it had adhered to settlement deal it reached with the Department of Justice and California’s Attorney General.

Tasked with keeping tabs on VW’s progress, the former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson said in his final report that the company looked to be in the clear.

From Volkswagen Group:

Hiltrud D. Werner, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG for Integrity and Legal Affairs, commented: “We are proud of the progress we have made to enhance our internal compliance, reporting and monitoring functions. We would like to thank Mr. Thompson and his team for their guidance through the audit and support in satisfying our obligations under the Third Partial Consent Decrees with the U.S. authorities.”

The findings from the first and second interim reports are incorporated into the third report, which covers the entire three-year term of the Independent Compliance Auditor.

Thompson also serves as the Independent Compliance Monitor under the terms of Volkswagen’s 2017 plea agreement with the DOJ. Subject to final certification by Thompson, the Monitorship will continue until September.

Thompson and his team were allowed a wild amount of access at Volkswagen and its subsidiaries, giving the Justice Department high confidence that the conditions have been met — though his monitoring will continue until September. Of course, that doesn’t absolve other nations from enacting additional financial penalties.

It also won’t save the company from the ongoing civil suits seeking additional damages for customers put out by the recalls. Still, that’s more or less a wrap on the U.S. government’s direct role in the matter. Unless Thompson missed something in his latest report ( available here for your enjoyment), this is one less problem the automaker has to contend with.

[Image: Gyuszko-Photo/Shutterstock]

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  • Old_WRX Old_WRX on Jul 07, 2020

    "Of course, that doesn’t absolve other nations from enacting additional financial penalties." I don't think "absolve" is the word you want here...

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jul 07, 2020

    After vowing to never get another VW (and never a 5-cylinder engine), I just got a used 08 Rabbit 2.5 from a friend as a favor to both of us. At least the cloud of Dieselgate has been lifted, so I can once again be a proud VW owner!

  • Jeff S I am not a fan of Tesla and they were niche vehicles but it seems that they have become more common. I doubt if I get an EV that it would be a Tesla. The electrical grid will have to be expanded because people over the long run are not going to accept the excuse of the grid can't handle people charging their EVs.
  • AMcA The '70 Continentals and Town Cars may have been cousins to the standard body Fords and Mercurys, they didn't have to be disguised, because they had unique, unbelievably huge bodies of their own. Looking at the new 1970 interior, I'd say it was also a cost savings in sewing the seat. Button tufted panels like the 1969 interior had require a lot of sewing and tufting work. The 1970 interior is mostly surface sewing on a single sheet of upholstery instead of laboriously assembled smaller pieces. FINALLY: do I remember correctly that the shag carpet shown under these cars was a Photoshop? They didn't really go so peak '70s as to photograph cars on shag carpets, did they?
  • Inside Looking Out Toyota makes mass market cars. Their statement means that EVs are not mass market yet. But then Tesla managed to make mass market car - Mode; 3. Where I live in CA there are more Tesla Model 3s on streets than Corollas.
  • Ltcmgm78 A lot of dirt must turn before there's an EV in every driveway. There must be a national infrastructure plan written by other than politicians chasing votes. There must be reliable batteries that hopefully aren't sourced from strategic rivals. There must be a way to charge a lot of EVs. Toyota is wisely holding their water. There is a danger in urging unplanned and hasty moves away from ICE vehicles. Do we want to listen to unending speeches every election cycle that we are closer than we have ever been to 100% electrification and that voting for certain folks will make it happen faster? Picture every car in your town suddenly becoming all electric and a third of them need a charge or the driver will be late for work. This will take a lot of time and money.
  • Kendahl One thing I've learned is that cars I buy for local errands tend to be taken on 1,000 mile trips, too. We have a 5-speed Focus SE that has gone on longer trips than I ever expected. It has served us well although, if I had it to do over again, I would have bought an ST. At the time of purchase, we didn't plan to move from 1,000 feet elevation to 6,500. The SE is still adequate but the ST's turbo and extra power would have been welcome.
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