Four and a half years after the Volkswagen Dieselgate broke, the company is still facing scrutiny on two continents. In its home country Germany on Friday, the Volkswagen Group agreed to pay a settlement of nearly $1 billion to hundreds of thousands of owners who argued their cars lost value after the scandal. The same day, Porsche’s offices were raided again by German police in an effort to uncover new evidence about Dieselgate.
On top of that, in America, Volkswagen has spent the last week defending itself in court against owners who declined to be a part of the automaker’s multibillion-dollar Dieselgate settlement.
All of this shows that Volkswagen is still very much dealing with the fallout of Dieselgate, despite spending the years since throwing tens of billions of dollars at building up a whole new lineup of electric vehicles. The world hasn’t forgotten about the fact that the automaker put 11 million vehicles on the road which purposely polluted far more than the legal limit, and that the company deceived regulators in the process.
In the Germany settlement, Volkswagen agreed to pay $912 million to owners, and the company’s legal chief said it “will now do everything in our power to offer and make the one-time payments as quickly as possible,” according to Bloomberg. Nearly 500,000 owners filed claims as part of the suit, and were only able to do so because lawmakers in Germany passed a law in 2018 in the wake of the scandal that allows consumer groups to file suit on behalf of customers.
The raid of Porsche’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany was part of an ongoing investigation into the roles of current and former employees in Dieselgate. In addition to searching the company’s headquarters, investigators searched three Porsche employees’ apartments.
A handful of executives at Volkswagen and its sub-brands have been charged, or even jailed, over their roles in the emissions cheating scandal, but the company had so far avoided facing a jury trial in the US over consumer claims about Dieselgate — until this week. A case filed all the way back in 2015 finally wound its way to trial in San Francisco after a lot of back and forth about who should be called as witnesses, what kinds of evidence should be allowed, and even whether the judge should preside over the case.
Volkswagen will continue to burn through cash as it tries to become the world leader in electric vehicles. But before it ever takes that title, the company obviously has more work to do to truly put Dieselgate behind it.