Germany May Fine Volkswagen After All, Korea Mulls Suspending VW Sales

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Last week we reported that Volkswagen may not be fined in Europe due to differences in policy. However, it looks like German prosecutors don’t want the automaker to get away with its diesel emissions cheating scandal, according to a report from Reuters. Citing Munich-based publication Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the report states that Volkswagen could be fined based on the profits it made from selling vehicles equipped with cheat software. Prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, are investigating Volkswagen’s “economy advantage” from manipulating emissions tests with cheat devices instead of using exhaust filter systems, which are costlier to implement.

Reuters is also indicating in another report that the prosecutors will be tough with Volkswagen and want the company to pay a separate fine from the one it will receive in the U.S., which totals $15.3 billion. A spokesman from Braunschweig’s prosecutor office said that they will not “pay heed to what VW may have to pay in other countries when we go about setting the fine” and that they can’t be lenient just because Volkswagen has to pay a large sum in other countries for the diesel emissions cheating scandal. Volkswagen also refused to offer compensation to European owners of diesel-powered vehicles.

The fine in Germany could amount to millions of Euros, according to industry observers in Germany. Braunschweig prosecutors have already started probing former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn and current brand chief Herbert Diess due to suspicions of possible market manipulation. The automaker confirmed it’s aware of the most recent probe.

In addition to criminal probes in the U.S. and Germany, Reuters is also reporting that South Korea’s environmental ministry has revealed that it will make a decision whether to revoke the certification of 32 Volkswagen Group vehicles due to the fabrication of emissions and noise-level test documents. Vehicles affected include models from Volkswagen, Audi, and Bentley, all of which will be suspended from sale in South Korea. Volkswagen sales in South Korea have fallen 33 percent to 12,463 units for the first half of 2016 due to the automaker’s admission of using cheat devices on diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. and other global markets.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 22 and a decision whether to suspend sales of the 32 Volkswagen Group vehicles will be made after that. Last month, a Volkswagen Group executive in South Korea was arrested by local prosecutors as part of a growing investigation on the automaker.

Source: Reuters 1, 2, 3