Volkswagen is facing a USD$90 billion (RM390 billion) lawsuit in the United States. The Department of Justice has filled a court action against the car maker for its attempts to cheat its way past the nation’s Clean Air Act with emissions-manipulating devices.

Following a thorough investigation, a complaint was put forward by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The complaint is based on allegations that nearly 600,000 Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen branded vehicles in the US have been equipped with systems that allowed it to cheat official emissions tests.

According to the Associated Press, the maximum fine faced by Volkswagen exceeds USD$90 billion (RM390 billion), based on each vehicle being penalised for the maximum USD$37,500 (RM163k) for the violation. This is a significant leap from the previously estimated USD$18 billion (RM78 billion) fine.

However, it is understood that Volkswagen is making a plea with the authorities, suggesting that the maximum fine would cripple the company’s future existence. Should its plea for leniency pay off, several reports suggest that a USD$21 billion (RM91 billion) figure is likely.

John C. Cruden, attorney general of the Justice Department’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division told reporters that, “car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and have defeat emission control systems breach the public trust, endanger public health and disadvantage competitors.”


He continued, “the United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to redress the violations of our nation’s clean air laws alleged in the complaint.” Crudden was specifically referring to the allegations that in real-world scenarios, the Volkswagen vehicles involved showed exhaust emission levels that would cause it to fail official emissions tests.

The vehicles in violation particularly feature Volkswagen’s EA189 derived diesel engines which are equipped with the infamous “defeat device,” and 3.0 litre V6 TDI mills that are equipped with a “temperature conditioning” system. Vehicles with the defeat devices are capable of reducing their actual emissions by up to 40 times, while the temperature conditioning system in the diesel V6 reduced emissions by nine times.

In its reports, the EPA highlighted some of the ill effects of excessive NOx particulates from exhaust emissions. It says that these pollutants are also “linked to asthma and other serious respiratory illnesses.”

It continued, “exposure to ozone and particulate matter is also associated with premature death due to respiratory-related or cardiovascular-related effects. Children, the elderly and people with pre-existing respiratory disease are particularly at risk of health effects from exposure to these pollutants. Recent studies indicate that the direct health effects of NOx are worse than previously understood, including respiratory problems, damage to lung tissue and premature death.”

Do note that this dieselgate issue here is a separate matter from the one ongoing in Europe. In its native continent, Volkswagen has claimed that the matter has been largely concluded. The company announced that there has been no “unlawful change” to its stated fuel consumption and CO2 figures and admitted that only a handful of new car variants have been affected.

These are the affected US models equipped with the EA189 engine:

  • VW Jetta (2009-2015)
  • VW Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
  • VW Beetle (2013-2015)
  • VW Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • VW Golf (2010-2015)
  • VW Golf Sportwagen (2015)
  • VW Passat (2012-2015)

And those equipped with the 3.0-litre V6 TDI:

  • Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (2014 – 2016)
  • Audi A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2009-2015)