The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated on 18 September 2015 it had found that German carmaker Volkswagen had designed software for close to half a million diesel cars that gave false emissions data. According to the regulators in the United States, the software deceived the mechanisms measuring toxic emissions, adding that Volkswagen could face fines of up to $18bn (£11.5bn) as a result.
Following the announcement, Volkswagen ordered an external investigation to the case, while the company's CEO added he was 'deeply sorry' for the violation of US rules.
The Transport & Environment NGO wrote that 'The VW scandal, and what will follow in Europe as more evidence emerges, demonstrates the entire system of testing vehicles is not fit for purpose. What is needed is a truly independent EU Type Approval Authority funded by a levy of €20 on every vehicle sold. This would be remarkably cost effective – last year over 500,000 people died prematurely from air pollution in Europe, many the result of high diesel nitrogen oxide emissions. The cost was almost €1 trillion.
The scandal of VW using defeat devices in the US is just the tip of the iceberg and the European Commission needs to get a grip on the problem'. Media reports had suggested in the past that the EU was planning to change the way emissions tests were conducted.
On the 22 September 2015 French Finance Minister Michel Sapin called for a 'Europe-wide' probe into carmakers. He deemed checks on cars manufactured by other European manufacturers 'necessary' in order to 'reassure' the public.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the 22 September 2015 for 'full transparency' and for VW to 'clear up the entire matter' as soon as possible.
On the 23 September 2015 Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn resigned.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry, Mobility and Transport|
|Countries / Regions||Germany|