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VW has been sued by the US Justice Department over the emissions scandal that saw the German automaker fitting software in millions of cars to cheat emissions tests.

In September 2015, following an investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), VW admitted fitting the so-called defeat device on 11 million cars globally.

The emissions scandal has hit Volkswagen sales worldwide.

The German car giant has put aside billions of euros to deal with the fallout.

The lawsuit, on behalf of the EPA was filed on January 4 in a federal court in Detroit, Michigan.

“The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impair their emission control systems and cause emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution,” the filing said.VW sued by Department of Justice

It also alleges that VW “violated” clean air laws by selling cars that were different in design from those originally cleared for sale by the EPA.

“With today’s filing, we take an important step to protect public health by seeking to hold Volkswagen accountable for any unlawful air pollution, setting us on a path to resolution,” said assistant administrator Cynthia Giles for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

“So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward. These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action.”


The department said the filing was just the first step in “bringing Volkswagen to justice”.

VW is also facing separate criminal charges, and a raft of class-action lawsuits filed by car owners.

The EPA says that VW fitted many of its cars with a device that was able to recognize test conditions and adjust the engine settings accordingly, with the express purpose of giving distorted readings on nitrogen oxide emissions.

VW admitted to “totally screwing up”, and there has been a shake-up in the management structure and personnel as a result. Martin Winterkorn resigned as CEO and was replaced with Matthias Muller, the former boss of Porsche.

The company is currently conducting an internal investigation that it says will “leave no stone unturned”.

VW will begin recalling millions of cars worldwide soon, and has set aside €6.7 billion to cover costs. That resulted in the company posting its first quarterly loss for 15 years, of €2.5 billion in October 2015.

With the lawsuits piling up, experts say the final costs for VW are likely to be much higher than that.

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VW has announced it will recall 8.5 million vehicles in Europe as a result of the diesel emissions scandal.

The move was prompted by Germany’s automotive watchdog (KBA), which earlier told Volkawagen to recall 2.4 million domestic cars.

German media reports suggest the KBA earlier rejected VW’s proposals that car owners could voluntarily bring their cars in for repair.

Meanwhile, Italian police have raided VW offices in Verona and Lamborghini offices in Bologna.

Reports suggest Italian prosecutors are investigating alleged commercial fraud.

Separately, the man tipped to become VW’s North America boss has resigned.

VW said Winfried Vahland was leaving because of “differing views on the organization of the new group region”.VW recall Europe 2015

The automaker gave no details of the recall and said it would contact individual customers directly.

VW added that it was working on solutions to fix the recalled cars “at full speed”.

Last month, authorities in the US discovered some VW diesel cars had been fitted with a device to cheat emissions tests. VW subsequently admitted that up to 11 million cars worldwide could have the device fitted.

VW has launched a thorough investigation into the scandal, but new chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch has warned that answers would take “some time”.

The company has set aside €6.5 billion ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of the scandal, but some experts believe the final bill could be much higher.

VW shares recovered slightly last week but are still down almost 20% since the scandal broke in mid-September.

Germany’s automotive watchdog, the KBA, has ordered VW to recall 2.4 million vehicles in the country as a result of the diesel emissions scandal.

According to local media reports, the KBA earlier rejected VW’s proposals that car owners could voluntarily bring their cars in for repair.

Meanwhile, Italian police have raided VW offices in Verona and Lamborghini offices in Bologna.Germany VW recall 2015

Reports suggest Italian prosecutors are investigating alleged commercial fraud.

Separately, the man tipped to become VW’s North America boss has resigned.

Volkswagen said Winfried Vahland was leaving because of “differing views on the organization of the new group region”.

Last month, authorities in the US discovered some VW diesel cars had been fitted with a device to cheat emissions tests. The automaker subsequently admitted that up to 11 million cars worldwide could have the device fitted.

VW has launched a thorough investigation into the scandal, but new chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch has warned that answers would take “some time”.

The company has set aside €6.5 billion ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of the scandal, but some experts believe the final bill could be much higher.

VW shares recovered slightly last week but are still down almost 20% since the scandal broke in mid-September.

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VW’s new CEO, Matthias Muller, said the car giant expects to start a recall of cars affected by its emissions scandal in January 2016.

All affected cars will be fixed by the end of 2016, Matthias Muller told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Only a few employees have been involved in the scandal, he added in the interview.

Volkswagen has said emissions test-cheating software is present in 11 million diesel vehicles.

The automaker would also look into its various brands and models, singling out Bugatti, its supercar marque.

Earlier, Matthias Muller told employees at VW’s Wolfsburg home plant in Germany the company is facing changes that “will not be painless”.VW recall emissions scandal 2015

All investments that were not deemed absolutely necessary would be abandoned or delayed, he said.

Technical solutions were “within view” and the firm would do everything it could to keep jobs secure, he added.

Future investment in plant, technology and vehicles would be put “under scrutiny”.

“We will do everything to ensure that Volkswagen will stand for good and secure jobs in the future,” Matthias Muller added.

The emissions scandal engulfed VW after it admitted cheating emissions tests in the US.

In Europe, Italy and France have opened investigations into the rigging of the tests.

VW is suspending the sale of 4,000 vehicles in the UK, saying the vehicles may be equipped with the device that cheated emissions tests in the US.

The move will involve vehicles across the VW group including the VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands.

VW said it was a temporary measure and that it intended to return the vehicles for sale once a fix is identified for the cars.

Despite the scandal that began almost two weeks ago, VW customers could still buy vehicles that had the rogue software.

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At least 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected by the scandal that has erupted over Volkswagen’s rigging of US car emissions tests, the company said.

The carmaker said it was setting aside €6.5 billion to cover costs of the scandal.

VW added this would pay for “necessary service measures and other efforts to win back the trust of our customers”.

Volkswagen CEO Michael Horn has admitted it “totally screwed up” in using software to rig emissions tests.

VW shares were down more than 20% on September 22 in Frankfurt.

On September 18, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said VW diesel cars had much higher emissions than tests had suggested and that software in several diesel cars could deceive regulators.

“Volkswagen does not tolerate any kind of violation of laws whatsoever,” the carmaker said in its latest statement.

VW said provision for the scandal would be made “in the profit and loss statement in the third quarter of the current fiscal year”.

It added: “Due to the ongoing investigations, the amounts estimated may be subject to revaluation.”

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin has called for an EU inquiry, but a UK car industry spokesman said there was “no evidence” of cheating.

However, he also described current testing methods as “outdated” and said the car industry wanted an updated emissions test, “more representative of on-road conditions”.

Minister Michel Sapin said inquiries in Europe had to be conducted “at a European level”.

“We are a European market with European rules,” he told Europe 1 radio.

“It is these that have to be respected. It is these that have been violated in the United States.”

The French carmakers’ federation backed Michel Sapin’s call, saying such an inquiry would “allow us to confirm that French carmakers respect the procedures for approval in all of the countries where they operate”.

However, a European Commission spokeswoman said it was “premature to comment on whether any specific immediate surveillance measures are also necessary in Europe”.VW Dieselgate emissions scandal

Elsewhere, the South Korean government said it would test up to 5,000 Jetta and Golf cars, along with Audi A3s made in 2014 and 2015.

Its investigation will be expanded to all German diesel cars if issues are found.

The White House in Washington also reportedly said it was “quite concerned” about VW’s conduct.

Volkswagen was ordered to recall half a million cars in the US on September 18.

In addition to paying for the recall, VW faces fines that could add up to billions of dollars. There may also be criminal charges for VW executives.

In its latest statement, VW said it was “working at full speed to clarify irregularities” concerning what it called “a particular software used in diesel engines”.

The EPA found the “defeat device”, the device that allowed VW cars to emit less during tests than they would while driving normally, in diesel cars including the Audi A3 and the VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

VW has stopped selling the relevant diesel models in the US, where diesel cars account for about a quarter of its sales.

The EPA said that the fine for each vehicle that did not comply with federal clean air rules would be up to $37,500. With 482,000 cars sold since 2008 involved in the allegations, it means the fines could reach $18 billion.

VW has ordered an external investigation, although it has not revealed who will be conducting it.