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Repercussions from Dieselgate will continue for years

Since publishing my book Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga early last month, many people have asked me, “is the Volkswagen scandal now over?”

The answer is not at all. In fact, it is far from over and the repercussions from what is commonly referred to as Dieselgate will continue for years to come.

In fact, the Volkswagen scandal story is likely to heat up on the criminal front, and in Europe, now that almost all the civil issues with the U.S. government have been settled.

Additionally, there are dozens of investor lawsuits in various jurisdictions around the world waiting for court dates. And though a $1.2B settlement agreement on the class-action lawsuit on behalf of car owners of the 3-liter diesel Audi, Porsche, and VW vehicles has been agreed to, it will not receive final approval from U.S. District Court Judge Breyer until May.

Here is where the saga stands at the moment:

Volkswagen has agreed to over $24B in fines, penalties, and potential compensatory payments to vehicle owners in the U.S. and Canada.

Volkswagen has been fined over $1ooM by statutory bodies and government regulators in other countries, including Brazil, India, Italy, Mexico, South Korea, and Taiwan.

One Volkswagen executive in South Korea has been sentenced to 18 months in jail. Two of his colleagues have been convicted of crimes but not yet sentenced.

A long-time Volkswagen engineer in the U.S. has pleaded guilty to three federal felony charges and is scheduled for sentencing in May.

Six Volkswagen executives and employees in Germany have been indicted by a U.S. federal grand jury on a variety of felony charges. One of them has been arrested by the FBI and is currently in jail, having been denied bail. The other five have been advised not to leave Germany as they risk arrest and extradition to the U.S. if caught outside their home country (which will not extradite them to the U.S.).

Most important, only a handful of the 11 million Volkswagen vehicles with emissions testing defeat device software have been fixed or bought back by Volkswagen and taken off the road. Almost all of them continue to spew dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants into the air a full 18 months after this cheating scandal was publicly raised by the EPA and nearly three full years after West Virginia University first published its test results. A study released last week by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology indicates that Volkswagen’s excessive NOx emissions will lead to 1200 premature deaths in Europe.

And, there is the matter of CO2 emissions problems on Audi vehicles with standard transmissions discovered last year, which is a whole other matter from the NOx emissions from diesel engines in VW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles that have been the focus of the Dieselgate scandal.

So no, the Volkswagen cheating scandal is far from over.

This article is partially excerpted from our book Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga, which is available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Leadership Lessons from the Volkswagen Saga is the first book published on the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal known as Dieselgate. 


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