U.S. SUES VW OVER SOFTWARE CHEAT
The Justice Department sued Volkswagen on Monday over emissions-cheating software found in nearly 600,000 vehicles sold in the U.S., potentially exposing the company to billions of dollars in penalties for clean-air violations.
The civil complaint against the German automaker, filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleges the company illegally installed software designed to make its “clean diesel” engines pass federal emissions standards while undergoing laboratory testing. The vehicles then switched off those measures in real-world driving conditions, spewing harmful gases at up to 40 times what is allowed by federal regulations.
The company is negotiating a massive mandatory recall with U.S. regulators and potentially faces more than $18 billion in fines for violations of the Clean Air Act.
The company and its executives also could still face separate criminal charges, while a raft of private class-action lawsuits filed by angry VW owners are pending.
Volkswagen Group of America spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said Monday that the company “will continue to cooperate with all government agencies investigating these matters.”
Because Volkswagen kept its suspect software secret, the lawsuit alleges the company’s cars were sold without a valid “certificate of conformity” issued by EPA to regulate new cars manufactured or imported into the country.