For the last six years, the European Commission has known that German automaker Volkswagen was cheating on emissions of its diesel vehicles, according to Spiegel Online.
- The emissions cheating had been under discussion for years both within the Commission and the EU member governments.
- The German government was notified about a 2012 meeting about the corporate deception.
|Read our latest story: 3 State Attorneys General Charge that Volkswagen Scandal is 10-Year Orchestrated Fraud
The scandal first made headlines in 2015 when it became known that Volkswagen had manipulated the emissions of its diesel vehicle, but the cover up was just revealed today.
Litigation against VW is consolidated in In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation, MDL 2672. On August 25, 2016, attorneys may listen to a status conference by telephone using the CourtCall remote court appearance service. Advance registration for remote attendance is required; this can be done online or by calling CourtCall at (866) 582-6878.
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EU knew about defeat devices
In the middle of the 2000s, European Commission experts noticed an odd phenomenon: Air quality in European cities was improving much more slowly than expected in light of stricter emissions regulations. It charged the Joint Research Centre (JRC) — an organization that carries out studies on behalf of the Commission — with measuring emissions in real-life conditions.
On October 8, 2010 — roughly three years after the JRC air quality tests — an internal memo noted that it was “well known” that there was a discrepancy between diesel vehicle emissions during the approval stage of new vehicle models and real-world driving conditions. The documents also makes the origin of this discrepancy clear: It is the product of “defeat devices” — essentially programs in the engine software — that would shut off anti-pollution controls, according to Spiegel Online.
On June 28, 2016, in settlements with the Department of Justice, the State of California, and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Volkswagen AG agreed to pay up to $14.7 billion to settle allegations of cheating emissions tests and deceiving customers. Volkswagen will offer consumers a buyback and lease termination for nearly 500,000 model year 2009-2015 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold or leased in the U.S., and spend up to $10.03 billion to compensate consumers under the program. In addition, the company will spend $4.7 billion to mitigate the pollution from these cars and invest in green vehicle technology.