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German Gov’t Won’t Fine VW Over Emissions Cheating Scandal

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Craig Boudreau Vice Reporter
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Volkswagen will not be fined by the German government for a massive emissions scandal that was uncovered by U.S. environmental regulators last year.

The German government believes the fines and compliance orders already issued for Volkswagen (VW) go far enough.

“We now have a situation in which VW is required to return the cars to a legally compliant condition,” Alexander Dobrindt, German Transport Minister, told Clean Technica Monday. “That is what is appropriate to remedy the damage that’s been done.”

At least one German politician isn’t happy about the move to not levy fines on VW.

“It’s not acceptable that the government doesn’t take any real consequences from the emissions scandal and gives a blank check for tricks and deceptions,” Oliver Krischer, a Green party representative and head of the parliamentary investigation committee, told Clean Technica Monday. “It needs to be explained why companies in Germany don’t pay fines. It’s also not okay that European drivers are treated worse than American VW drivers.”

In August of 2015 the EPA found that Volkswagen had been using “defeat devices” in order to cheat emissions testing for diesel engines. The defeat device was known to the European Union years before the EPA uncovered the scandal, but chose to not act.

In response to the scandal, VW was fined $14.7 billion. Of that $14.7 billion, $10 billion will go to the owners of the vehicles involved, who will be receiving up to $10,000 each; $2.7 billion will go to the EPA for environmental mitigation; and the remaining $2 billion will go to investing in electric vehicle technology, as reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation in June.

The fines hurt VW so much that they posted their first quarterly loss in 15 years, according to an article by The BBC in 2015. VW posted a loss of $2.7 billion dollars for the third quarter of 2015. The German car company also saw a 20 percent dip in profits in 2015 due to the scandal.

While VW had to recall nearly 500,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. in response to the scandal, the German automaker has been forced to recall 8.5 million of their vehicles sold in Europe.

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