Volkswagen says it believes small number of staff behind emissions scandal

WOLFSBURG, Germany -- Volkswagen believes that only a small number of employees were behind the emissions scandal, but its board chairman said Thursday the company is still investigating and suggested the probe does not exclude top managers.

See Full Article

In an update on the German automaker's attempt to get to the bottom of the scandal, Hans Dieter Poetsch said "we are relentlessly searching for those responsible for what happened and you may rest assured we will bring these persons to account."

He confirmed the company had suspended nine managers for possible involvement in the scandal, in which the company was found to have cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests with the help of software installed in engines. The software was installed on 11 million cars globally, about 500,000 of which in the U.S.

Poetsch said there are so far no indications that board members were directly involved, but said the company's probe would be broad: "This is not only about direct but overall responsibility."

He said the investigation has so far analyzed data from laptops, phones and other devices from 400 employees. More than 2,000 have been informed in writing that they cannot delete any data in case it becomes relevant to the investigation, he said.

External auditors have already gone through 102 terabytes of data, which he said was the equivalent of 50 million books.

"I'm not saying all of those people are under suspicion, but what it means is that on computers, sim cards, or USB sticks there might be information that could be important," he said.

"We still believe that only a comparatively small number of employees was actually actively involved in the manipulations."

CEO Matthias Mueller said that the scandal had so far not caused the "massive slump that some feared earlier." He said "the situation is not dramatic, but as expected it is tense." Sales in the U.S. fell nearly 25 per cent in November, the first month to show the full impact of the scandal. Figures for the European Union are due next week.

"We are fighting for every customer and every car."

He suggested that the company was not considering any cuts to fulltime jobs, but that it might have to shed some temporary workers.

"Temporary jobs are a tool of ensuring flexibility, that is not new," he said. "If changes come to our production, then this may have an impact on the number of temporary workers."

Mueller said Volkswagen's finances are strong enough, however, that the company does not have to consider selling any units to cope with the costs of the scandal as has been speculated by some. The automaker has estimated the scandal would cost 6.7 billion euros, though analysts expect that figure to ultimately be much higher.

To help restore confidence in the company and "prevent something like this from ever happening again," Poetsch announced that Volkswagen was instituting new, more stringent and transparent emissions testing for all of its vehicles. He said Volkswagen would go beyond lab tests -- so far the norm in the U.S. and Europe -- had proved too easy to cheat.

"Our emissions tests will, in future, be verified by external and independent third parties," he said. "We will also be introducing universal on-road emissions measurements during real-life driving, and we hope that will help us win back trust."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Asian shares advance after Wall Street rally

    Economic CTV News
    Shares were broadly higher in Asia on Thursday after a rally on Wall Street that took the Dow Jones industrial average to its first close above 26,000. Traders are awaiting the release of Chinese GDP figures later Thursday. Source
  • Unifor says it has left Canadian Labour Congress over dispute

    Economic CBC News
    ?Unifor, the largest private sector union in Canada, says it is splitting with the Canadian Labour Congress over disagreements about the rights of workers to choose which union should represent them. In a letter to the CLC, Unifor national president Jerry Dias and Quebec director Renaud Gagne say the congress has been less than supportive of its concern about American-based unions "trampling on the rights" of workers and their right to choose representation or express dissent. Source
  • Bread price-fixing documents won't be unsealed Thursday, Loblaw says

    Economic CTV News
    BRAMPTON, Ont. -- Loblaw says court documents regarding an alleged industry-wide bread price-fixing scheme won't be released tomorrow after an unidentified individual filed an application against releasing them. The information to obtain, which outlines why the Competition Bureau wanted search warrants in the case against at least seven companies, including Canada's three major grocers, has been sealed for 30 days and was scheduled to be released Thursday morning. Source
  • Home Capital vows to defend itself against short seller's $4M lawsuit

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Home Capital Group (TSX:HCG) says it vows to defend itself against misrepresentation claims in a $4-million lawsuit filed by a short seller against the alternative lender and three of its former executives. The company issued a response after California-based short seller Marc Cohodes on Monday filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleging that the company's misrepresentations in its financial reporting cost him millions when he closed his position…
  • Home Capital vows to defend itself against short seller's lawsuit

    Economic CBC News
    Home Capital Group days it vows to defend itself against misrepresentation claims in a $4-million lawsuit filed by a short seller against the alternative lender and three of its former executives. The company issued a response after California-based short seller Marc Cohodes on Monday filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleging that the company's misrepresentations in its financial reporting cost him millions when he closed his position early. Source
  • Canada's new distillery district? Nova Scotia sees explosion in craft spirits

    Economic CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia has kindled an explosion of spirit makers -- there are now 16 in Canada's second-smallest province -- through attractive craft-distillery policies and collaborations with local farmers. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation says 12 of those distilleries have popped up in the last five years, serving rum, gin, vodka and other spirits. Source
  • Loblaw, CRA face off in court in dispute that could cost grocery giant $404M

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Loblaw Companies Ltd. and the Canada Revenue Agency faced off in a Toronto court Wednesday in a $404-million dispute involving allegations that the grocery giant's Barbadian banking subsidiary was misused for tax avoidance. Source
  • Fed survey finds solid U.S. growth and rising wages

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the economy was growing at a moderate pace at the start of the year, with the majority of business contacts optimistic about prospects for 2018. In its latest survey of business conditions nationwide, the Fed said that wages were rising at a modest pace. Source
  • Bombardier won't confirm pending order in Iran for 10 regional jets

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Bombardier Inc. will not confirm a published report in Iran that the Canadian planemaker is finalizing its first commercial aircraft order in the Middle Eastern country. The Quebec-based company has acknowledged in the past that it was exploring opportunities in Iran. Source
  • Royal Bank raises prime lending rate to 3.45% in wake of Bank of Canada decision

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) is raising its prime lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point in the wake of the Bank of Canada's decision to raise its key interest rate target. Source