Volkswagen has been fined €1 billion (£880m) by German prosecutors over its manipulation of emissions in the dieselgate scandal, ending criminal liabilities in Europe.
After selling pushing on for 11 million cars with software designed to manipulate emissions in testing, VW has been hit by fines, prosecutions and even arrests of staff. And, in the US, VW has spent over €20 billion to settle civil and criminal charges so far.
So even though VW still try to argue that European emissions regulations are so badly drafted that they didn’t break the absolute letter of those regulations with their defeat devices, accepting the £880 million fine from German prosecutors draws a line under any criminal prosecution in Europe.
Of course, the end of criminal proceedings against VW in Europe won’t stop either shareholder action or action from disgruntled buyers, but the end of criminal action in Europe will be a big relief and, even if the fine is €1 billion, it won’t put much of a dent in VW’s cash reserves.
With that out of the way, VW is free to continue its mission to re-invent itself as the saviour of the planet with an electric car onslaught. ‘Clean Electric’, rather than ‘Clean Diesel’.