U.S. DOJ Sues Volkswagen Over 600,000 Non-Compliant Vehicles

January 5, 2016 0 Comments

The Volkswagen diesel emissions crisis just took a new turn as a new federal government lawsuit could mean the automaker being forced to pay billions in fines.

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency filed a civil compliant in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen. The complaint alleges 600,000 engines in VW diesel vehicles had defeat devices installed, which caused the vehicle emissions to eclipse EPA standards.

The following vehicles were listed in a release by the DOJ as being suspected of having a defeat device:

2.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

Jetta (2009-2015)

Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)

Beetle (2013-2015)

Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

Golf (2010-2015)

Golf Sportwagen (2015)

Passat (2012-2015)

3.0 Liter Diesel Vehicles

Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)

Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)

Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)

Audi A8 (2014 – 2016)

Audi A8L (2014-2016)

Audi Q5 (2014-2016)

Audi Q7 (2009-2015)

Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, spoke about the civil complaint in a statement saying, “With today’s filing, we take an important step to protect public health by seeking to hold Volkswagen accountable for any unlawful air pollution, setting us on a path to resolution. So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward.  These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action.”

While no numbers have been releases, a common belief is that the lawsuit could result in Volkswagen being required to payout billions of dollars in fines. The fine figure thrown around near the start of the crisis was $18 billion, however that was related to 482,000 vehicles in non-compliance, not 600,000.

Adding to alleged non-compliance is the report from the NY Times which says in part, “Federal prosecutors…said the company (VW) had “impeded and obstructed” regulators’ inquiries and provided “misleading information.” The allegation of misconduct by VW in their work with regulators comes after the automaker had a strong finish to 2016 and pushed the message that the crisis wasn’t as bad as previously thought.

Just when the VW crisis seemed ready to fade out, this civil complaint has come to light. Do you think as VW suggests the crisis isn’t as bad as previously thought or does this lawsuit and potential for billions in fines mean it’s still the same crisis? What long-term impact will this crisis have for Volkswagen?

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