Germany dominates the European Union in a number of areas. Chief among Germany’s leadership are car engineering and environmental business. Many of the world’s most popular cars bear German names: Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW - as such they act as ambassadors to the country’s advances in automobile engineering and at affordable prices. In recent years, Germany has been ahead of the rest of Europe in terms of conducting business more sustainably, such as switching to renewable energies like solar and wind at large scale.
But now a scandal has ruptured both of these sources of German pride: Volkswagen (VW) rigged environmental and emissions tests for its engines. It’s got nothing to do with your‘Vorsprung durch Technik’, you know.
Regulators have found software that gave false emissions data from VW’s diesel engines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that the manipulative software deceived regulators who were measuring VW’s toxic emissions. Subsequently, VW has admitted that 11m of its cars worldwide were designed to cheat emissions testing. The Volkswagen company could face fines of up to £12 billion as a result.
Outraged by this ecological deception, VW’s shared prices plummeted by more than a third in less than 48 hours! The fallout from this deliberate deception has escalated enormously, already the CEO has resigned. One German newspaper has called it the "most expensive act of stupidity in the history of the car industry".
Oliver Krischer, deputy leader of the Green party, told German television that this showed the government knew carmakers were trying to manipulate emissions tests. He said: “The government worked together with the auto industry, not to ensure that the emissions levels were reduced, but so that the measuring system was set up in such a way that on paper the cars met the necessary standards.” German public prosecutors said they were considering launching a criminal investigation into the scandal and are examining a collection of legal claims that have been filed by private individuals against VW.