As expected, with each passing day troubles for Volkswagen are increasing with the latest jolt coming from Paris where authorities have started an “aggravated deception” inquiry into the German automaker.
The move comes days after VW apologised for the emission test-tricking piece of software was found to be installed on some of its diesel cars. According to the company as many as 11 million cars worldwide have this piece of software installed – meaning that all these cars are effectively emitting more toxic gases than allowed by authorities.
The software effectively detects when car is being tested for emissions and switches the vehicle to a low emission mode in order to achieve more favourable results.
While VW stocks are at the receiving end of the spectrum, a further 3 per cent fall was registered after news of the French investigation emerged.
According to authorities, France’s consumer protection code allows for prison sentences of five years and a fine of 600,000 euros (£441,953) if found guilty under aggravated deception.
Separate investigation has also been launched by French consumer protection and fraud control authorities on whether VW cheated on emissions focusing in particular on vehicles software devices.
German authorities have already announced their own investigations and authorities of different countries have also launched their independent investigations.
Staff acted criminally
While speaking to BBC, Volkswagen board member Olaf Lies said that staff involved with emission rigging ‘acted criminally’ and that they should take personal responsibilities for their actions. He acknowledged that huge damage has been done because of this and that millions of people have lost faith in VW.
He further added that while he is sure that lots of people will be suing the company for damages, they are going to recall lots of cars and fix the issue and that has to happen really fast.
The world’s biggest carmaker by sales has revealed a plan to refit millions of vehicles affected by the scam, in which devices were fitted that switch on pollution controls when they detect the car is being tested.