German watchdogs, regulators and politicians are pressurizing automobile manufacturers to clean up their diesel engines. While the industry officials and government ministers are scheduled to meet in Berlin in August to discuss ways to tackle diesel pollution, scandal hit Volkswagen is now planning to refit four million diesel cars. Chief Executive Matthias Mueller met the German government officials to discuss ways to avoid diesel bans in major cities. The company has also decided to spend as much as $25 billion in the United States to resolve claims from customers and regulators. VW has bought back cars from its customers by paying them anywhere between $12,500 – $44,000 depending on the model, age and region. While it is true that Volkswagen is ‘working to make things right’, many VW executives have been charged by the U.S courts with most recent being by the District Court in Detroit who found Oliver Schmidt guilty. Mr. Schmidt was chief of Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Michigan, has been held since January when he was arrested trying to return to Germany. Schmidt is one of eight current and former executives charged in the U.S. emissions probe. Volkswagen’s decision to refit cars in Germany might also force the company to do the same in other European markets.
If reports are to be believed then German government might also de-register vehicles affected by the diesel scandal if the vehicles were not fitted with engine software upgrades.
“The view that the relationship between the auto industry and politics may have been a bit too close cannot be wrong,” German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said following talks with Mueller at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters.
A UK based law firm has also said that out of 9,500 owners of various VW Group brand cars 5,052 reported problems in their car after the fix and has filed a lawsuit against the company.
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