Volkswagen chief Matthias Mueller has hinted in a newspaper interview that his company might completely abandon diesel engine technology in the wake of the its massive emissions cheating scandal. “Against this background, we have to ask ourselves whether… we want to spend more money on the further development of diesel,” Mueller told German business daily Handelsblatt. He said the company is taking a “fundamental” look at the issue, according to the Daily Nation.
Part of the reason for the reassessment is the tougher emissions regulations due to go into effect in 2020. “We have an inkling of what will follow in five or 10 years,” he said. “It’s clear even today that treating exhaust gas fumes will become very costly and elaborate,” he said. Despite the issues with emissions, diesel engines remain very popular in Europe, where two generations of drivers have come to rely on diesels as the engines of choice in their personal vehicles.
Also today, German financial watchdog Bafin filed a complaint with prosecutors against the entire former board of Volkswagen Group. It is concerned that senior Volkswagen officials violated German law by not advising investors about the extent of the diesel emissions scandal soon enough. Market manipulation is considered a serious offense in Germany.
German prosecutors on Monday announced they had begun a probe against two Volkswagen board members — former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and another unnamed executive. The prosecutors said they had “sufficient real signs” that Volkswagen’s duty to disclose the possible financial damage of its manipulations may have arisen prior to Sept. 22, 2015 when it publicly admitted to its wrongdoings.
A person familiar with the legal proceedings told Reuters that Bafin saw the former board as having collective responsibility in the case and that prosecutors may widen the probe to include other executives. At the time the scandal broke in 2015, the board included current CEO Matthias Mueller, who was then in charge of the Porsche brand. Several sources tell Reuters that prosecutors are also investigating Herbert Diess, who is now in charge of the Volkswagen core brand.
Bafin and Volkswagen have declined comment.
Source: Automotive News | Photo credit: Volkswagen