Just a couple of days after VW admitted to falsifying diesel emissions tests in the US, Porsche Automobil Holding SE bought a 1.5% shareholding in VW from Suzuki.

This move was a leftover from 2009 when VW bought a near-20% stake in the Japanese automaker, famed for its ability to build low-cost, high quality small cars.

Moving in after the global credit crunch, VW was driven by its determination to expand on all fronts, on its way to becoming the world’s largest car maker.

One area where VW was lacking was the ability to build profitable small cars, especially for the booming Chinese and Indian markets.

According to Suzuki’s side of the story, VW wanted access to Suzuki’s engineering abilities but the Japanese claimed they were unlikely to get similar access to VW tech. VW and family-owned Suzuki fell out in 2011. Suzuki’s demand that it should be able to buy back VW’s 20% shareholding went to international arbitration.

Just days before ‘dieselgate’ Suzuki spent £2.4 billion buying VW’s shareholding back, after the judgement went the Japanese company’s way.

That reversal of VW’s global expansion was very minor compared with what happened over the following fortnight. The mighty German company is now completely on the back foot, and facing years of massively expensive fines and litigation.