As Volkswagen announced its emissions-test cheating scandal was going to cost at least 16 billion euros to sort out, other German carmakers – including Mercedes-Benz, and Opel – said they will join VW and its subsidiaries Audi and Porsche in a massive recall to fix diesel engine technology blamed for high pollution.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said: “The manufacturers will carry out a voluntary recall for these cars to be serviced, which will affect a total of about 630,000 vehicles produced all around Europe.”
Dobrindt said none of the other manufacturers’ models were found to have been fitted with the test defeating software of the kind used by Volkswagen, but they did emit elevated levels of nitrogen oxide.
Questioned by reporters, VW’s Chief Executive Matthias Mueller admitted he couldn’t say what the total cost will be of the scandal – which affects 11 million cars worldwide – but for last year alone the company it has set aside 16.2 billion euros.
VW has agreed a framework settlement with US authorities to buy back or potentially fix cars there, but will likely face billions more in costs, including possible fines as part of an expected civil settlement, and even criminal charges from the US Department of Justice.
There are also questions over whether it will offer compensation to the much larger number of diesel drivers affected outside the United States, as well as who will be blamed for the scandal in several ongoing investigations.
“The crisis in Wolfsburg is far from over yet,” said NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “The agreement with US regulators is nothing but an intermediate step in a marathon that should stretch out over the next five to 10 years.”