Volkswagen has been handed a €1 billion (£880m) fine by Germany's Brunswick public prosecutor for cheating diesel emissions tests.
In a statement released today, Volkswagen said: “Following thorough examination, Volkswagen AG accepted the fine and it will not lodge an appeal against it. Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome.”
This is the largest fine lodged against Volkswagen in Europe since the emissions scandal, although it has had to pay around $24 billion (around £18 billion) in fines and costs associated with fixing the affected cars in the United States alone.
10.7 million cars worldwide were affected by the emissions scandal, with further legal challenges expected to come from other national authorities and customers. The Brunswick legal case represents the whole of Germany, so individual German states will not be taking similar action individually.
Volkswagen admitted that “According to the findings of the investigation carried out by the Braunschweig public prosecutor, monitoring duties had been breached in the Powertrain Development department in the context of vehicle tests.”
Since the emissions scandal broke, diesel has been under scrutiny by authorities as to its benefits, and a large-scale public abandonment of diesel-engined cars has taken place as a result of the threat of rising ownership costs through increased taxation and legislative levies on diesel car ownership.
An ongoing legal investigation into the scandal is also taking place in Stuttgart, involving numerous high-profile Volkswagen Group executives, both past and present.