Crime doesn’t pay, but Volkswagen sure will be.
The emissions scandal is still nowhere close to being resolved it would appear. Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller announced that the scandal will inflict “substantial and painful” financial damage on the company, as board member Stephan Weil allegedly warned that more unpleasant news is on the horizon as German prosecutors have widened their investigation into employee involvement in the scandal.
In the same week that the company have faced some criticism for publically acknowledging they deliberately delayed admitting to the scandal in an attempt to strike a deal first, it has been alleged that the costs of the scandal could be worse than anticipated. Mueller is claimed to have told a gathering of workers at the company’s headquarters that the implications of the scandal will keep them busy “for a long time.”We have previously reported how the company set aside 6.7 billion Euros to assist with resolving the scandal, but with an estimated eleven million vehicles impacted globally and lawsuits stacking up, this figure is likely not enough.
Stephan Weil, prime minister of Lower Saxony, Volkswagen’s second-largest shareholder, told workers at this same meeting: “We will this year probably every now and then be confronted with unpleasant news related to dieselgate. The damage will, on balance, not be minor, as much as that can already be said today but Volkswagen luckily has a strong economic substance.” Lower Saxony owns twenty percent of Volkswagen’s shares, so it must be somewhat of a relief to know that Weil added the company saw “no reason” to alter their commitments to Volkswagen following the scandal and subsequent consequences.
Separate to these expressed concerns, prosecutors in Brunswick, Germany, added to the list of potential woes for the company as they widened their probe for the emission, and are now investigating an alleged seventeen employees, up from six employees previously. Klaus Ziehe, a prosecutor in the case, is quoted as saying: “This is part of the diesel investigation, the number of suspects has risen, although none are from the management board,” Ziehe said.
With no solution agreed to fix the diesel cars in the United States, and with their March 24th deadline looming ever so near, Volkswagen have to hope that someone presses down hard on the accelerator in this case.