US sues Volkswagen for at least $20 bn over emissions cheating
NEW YORK : The US government sued Volkswagen on Monday for installing equipment on nearly 600,000 diesel cars that intentionally subverted clean-air regulations, resulting in excess harmful emissions.
Civil penalties in the lawsuit, filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, could run well above $20 billion, according to the suit.
The complaint alleges that the big German automaker intentionally installed “defeat devices” on its diesel Volkswagen’s, Audis and Porsches that met tough US environmental tests during official reviews, but spewed up to 40 times the legal levels of poisonous pollutants when on the road.
The Justice Department did not specify a specific overall penalty it was seeking. But it laid out per-car penalties of up to $37,500, and up to $2,750 per defeat device, which could take the cost of the suit for Volkswagen to well past $20 billion.
Assistant attorney general John Cruden said, “Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust, endanger public health and disadvantage competitors.”