Things aren’t looking good for Volkswagen right now as the Dieselgate saga continues.
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'll probably know about Volkswagen's notorious diesel emissions cheating scandal. Over one year on, the repercussions are still being felt: it resulted in the biggest settlement in US history, numerous automakers want to sue them, and it could also damage Audi and Porsche's reputation. Things are now getting serious in the latest chapter of the on-going saga, as New York Times reports that the FBI has arrested a Volkswagen executive over the scandal.
Oliver Schmidt, former general manager of Volkswagen's Engineering and Environmental Office for Volkswagen of America, is currently in custody on conspiracy to defraud the United States and is facing a criminal investigation. Schmidt was the top emissions compliance officer for VW in the US and is being accused of playing a central role in deceiving US regulators about the manufacturer cheating emissions. According to the New York Times, Schmidt tried to convince regulators that excess emissions of VW's diesel models were produced by technical issues, rather than deliberate cheating on VW's part. That was never going to end well.
FBI agent Ian Dinsmore said that Mr. Schmidt deceived American regulators "by offering reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating on US emissions tests, in order to allow VW to continue to sell diesel vehicles in the United States." The investigation over VW's Dieselgate scandal is certainly intensifying. VW has already been ordered to pay out $15 billion in compensation and fines, and an engineer was arrested last year charged for defrauding the government. No doubt there will still be plenty more revelations, lawsuits and arrests relating to Dieselgate which will continue to haunt VW for years to come. Still, at least we might get an electrified Microbus as a peace offering.