Such was the scale of Volkswagen Group’s ‘Dieselgate’ scandal that, six years after revelations began to come out, its impacts remain ongoing.
The German firm has announced that it will be pursuing two former employees — former CEO Martin Winterkorn [pictured above] and former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler — over damages related to the saga.
Volkswagen alleges that the pairing failed “to comprehensively and promptly clarify the circumstances behind the use of unlawful software functions” during initial investigations, following six years of its own investigations into the scandal’s moving parts.
According to the investigation, Winterkorn and Stadler were the key architects of plans to create and roll-out emissions ‘cheat devices’ in diesel cars in order to get them to pass emissions tests. No other members of the board committed violations, Volkswagen says.
Said investigation reportedly involved 480 million documents, 1.6 million of which were directly tied to Dieselgate. On top of this, 1550 interviews with various witnesses and staff members were conducted.
The Dieselgate scandal resulted in a significant drop in sales of diesel Volkswagens worldwide — the brand kicking off a grand pivot to electrification as a result. In what was somewhat a blessing in disguise, it now finds itself ahead of most rival firms in terms of electrification progress.
Having rolled out its new ID.3 and ID.4 electric models in Europe, Volkswagen recently confirmed that it will double its electric car sales output in Europe by 2030. It expects that 70 per cent of its total sales by then will be electric.
“The automotive industry is changing fast. We will fundamentally change Volkswagen in the coming years. We intend to defend our market leadership on a clear position: Volkswagen will be the most attractive brand for sustainable mobility,” Volkswagen boss Ralf Brandstätter said earlier this month.
“If you believe with electric cars alone we’ve arrived in the future, already you’re wrong. The key is digitalisation. The car is now a software-driven product, like an internet device. Cars will become more intelligent and safer. Electrification was just the beginning, the real disruption is coming.”