Volkswagen Polo Facelift 14

Things are not really looking up for Volkswagen in the US right now, as according to Bloomberg, the US Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of VW’s admission to cheating on federal air pollution tests. Adding to woes, the German carmaker’s share price plunged about 23% on Monday, wiping out at least 15.6 billion euros (RM74.8 billion) of its market value after the ‘defeat device’ scandal emerged.

The publication opines criminal enquiries could take months or years and lead to charges against individuals and companies. VW CEO Martin Winterkorn had already issued a public apology for this unmitigated PR disaster. Nonetheless, the news agency does believe that the final penalty for VW could be far less than the initial $18 billion figure that was stated based on the cost per violation and the number of cars.

But it’s time for other carmakers like BMW, Daimler, Fiat-Chrysler, GM and Jaguar Land Rover to get a bit apprehensive too. According to Reuters, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and officials in California will be testing other diesel vehicles for possible ‘defeat devices’, after it announced last Friday that VW uses software that functions only during emissions tests. EPA is now investigating other VW Group diesel cars such as the Audi A6/Q5 and Porsche Cayenne.

BMW and Daimler have issued statements to Automotive News Europe saying that their diesel-powered vehicles comply with US clean air rules. “There are clear laws and guidelines governing this and we adhere to them. Everything else is manipulation and deception and we don’t commit such fraud,” a BMW spokesman said. “We heard of the EPA’s accusations against VW from the press, the issue described by the press does not apply to Mercedes-Benz Cars,” Daimler said.