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U.S. officially sues Volkswagen over the emissions scandal, seeking up to $18 billion in penalties

Due to Volkswagen’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s incapacity to come to deal after discussions over how to fix the cars affected by the emissions tests cheating, the U.S. Department of Justice officially sued the German automaker on behalf of the EPA in federal court on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal obtained the civil lawsuit and writes:

“The new civil lawsuit largely repeats allegations environmental regulators made against Volkswagen last year through administrative filings, including that the car maker installed illegal devices that circumvented emissions tests in 580,000 diesel-engine vehicles sold in the U.S. But the lawsuit ramps up pressure on the company as it puts the case before a federal judge and formally seeks court-ordered penalties and other relief.”

The Department of Justice is seeking more than $32,000 per vehicle affected, with 580,000 vehicles, it could potentially add up to more than $18.5 billion in penalties.

Furthermore, the complaint accuses Volkswagen of obstructing the investigation into the vehicles with 3-liter engines. The DOJ writes that VW omitted certain information and provided misleading information, which could have obstructed the agency’s effort to “learn the truth about the emission exceedances and other irregularities”.

VW brand chairman Dr. Herbert Diess will hold a keynote address at CES tomorrow. The address will focus on a “new era of electric mobility” for the brand, which is now obviously trying to move away from diesel.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and other business and environmental group leaders, recently signed an open letter proposing that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) lets VW off the hook in California over the emissions scandal and in return, VW would be forced to significantly invest in electric vehicles or other zero-emission vehicles.

Featured image: Herbert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen’s passenger cars brand, leaves a presentation at the 44th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

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  1. Olivia Campbell - 7 years ago

    I am going to be that guy and say that in today’s age when most corporations pay a fine and accept no wrongdoing, you have to appreciate the fact that VW is at least accepting it’s deceitful practices. How many American corporations have done that since the financial crisis of 2008? A large number of financial institutions including Bank of America have paid huge amounts of fines and settled cases with the government, while at the same time clearly stating that ‘we did nothing wrong’. Whatever punishment VW will get is well deserved, but let’s not forget that acceptance of wrongdoing in itself an important pillar of a morally just world. I have at least a sliver of respect for VW on that account.
    – Olivia from


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