Germany is coming down hard on its biggest carmaker over the diesel-emissions crisis, giving Volkswagen just over a week to come up with a fix to a problem eight years in the making.
Yesterday, VW received a letter from Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, signed by transport minister Alexander Dobrindt, demanding that it deliver a binding plan and schedule to fix the 11 million “cheat code” diesel cars by October 7.
If Volkswagen can’t present a viable solution by then, according to Dobrindt, the German government would have no choice but to ban the 2.8 million affected cars from driving on that country’s roads. Switzerland has already banned affected cars from being sold, new or used, and other countries continue to investigate their options; the U.S. arm of VW issued a stop-sale order on new diesel VWs last week.
Volkswagen plans to present its solution within days to repair the affected cars, a spokesman said, and will notify customers and regulatory authorities around the world in writing. That’s not the only issue for VW, though, with German prosecutors opening up a criminal investigation of former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn over his role in what it is calling a “fraud scandal” that has shattered public confidence in the world’s biggest carmaker. The U.S. Department of Justice also has opened a criminal investigation.
So Volkswagen has a week to present a plan to come clean on millions of diesel cars, or they're sunk. They still might be sunk, frankly. It will take a long time for the world's largest automaker to recover from this, and they won't be number one for much longer.
We'll see where this goes. I only wish the US was as serious as Germany when it came to punishing bad corporate actors like this. And again, who knows which other diesel engine manufacturers are guilty? I don't think Volkswagen is alone in this, do you?