When the allegations of Volkswagen Group using regulators in engines were becoming evident, 21 countries’ governments including United Kingdom, China, India and Canada directed their pollution control boards to launch an investigation if vehicles from Volkswagen had circumvented laws and regulations on vehicle emission testing. Reports from many countries stated that Volkswagen had used regulators and they could be facing huge fines and lawsuits.
Olaf Lies, supervisory board member of Volkswagen Group told in german radio“If Winterkorn knew of the manipulation, then he must go and I am sure that there will be personnel consequences in the end, there is no question about it”. Many reports from media wrote that Martin Winterkorn knew about using the regulators while other reports say he decided to use regulators over investment of money on reducing emissions. When Winterkorn resigned from his post on 23 September 2015. He issued following statement:
I am shocked by the events of the past few days. I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group. As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a press conference on Volkswagen scandal. “Given the difficult situation, this is about showing complete transparency, clearing up the entire case. The Transport Minister is in close contact with the company, Volkswagen. And I hope that the facts will be put on the table as quickly as possible,” Merkel told journalists in Berlin. Merkel’s statement was made right after Volkswagen hinted on firing then-CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Catherine Bearder, Member of European Parliament (MEP) for South East England, commented on 27 October 2015 in the European Parliament that “we now have the political momentum for a radical overhaul that will ensure carmakers cannot dodge the rules, defending an EU resolution meant to specifically cut deadly pollution from diesel vehicles“. However, when the European Commission proceeded with passing legislation that allowed the car industry more time to comply with the newer regulation, while also permitting cars, even under the more “realistic” tests, to emit more than twice the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from 2019 and up to 50% more from 2021, Bearder denounced the legislation as “a disgraceful stitch-up by national governments, who are once again putting the interests of carmakers ahead of public health”
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk was asked about his opinion whether the scandal will weaken the consumer’s view on green technologies; he responded saying he expects the opposite to happen:
In my opinion, as per MEP Bearder, It may be possible that the government officials from nations are working along with Volkswagen Group and they do know about the regulators in the diesel cars. Corruption is not new for EU countries, one such example is AgustaWestland’s Indian helicopter deal. The company allegedly gave 30 million Euros to Indian politicians and Air Force marshals to win the contract of 13 Helicopters worth $515 million dollars. On the other hand, I do agree with Elon Musk’s statement. Every product will have its limits for improvement and I feel it was evident that Volkswagen could not develop better engines and meet the emissions standard.