Volkswagen pleaded guilty today to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements as part of a $4.3 billion settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department in January over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. It comes as the automaker strives to put the most expensive ever auto industry scandal behind it.
The September 2015 disclosure that VW intentionally cheated on emissions tests for at least six years led to the ouster of its chief executive, damaged the company’s reputation around the world and prompted massive bills. In total, VW has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles. VW has also agreed to sweeping reforms, new audits and oversight by an independent monitor for three years after admitting to installing secret software in 580,000 U.S. vehicles. The software enabled it to beat emissions tests over a six-year period and emit up to 40 times the legally allowable level of pollution.
In a statement, the company said that “Volkswagen deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to the diesel crisis. The agreements that we have reached with the U.S. government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear. Volkswagen today is not the same company it was 18 months ago.” Reuters
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