The initiation of further legal action against Volkswagen in
Germany was revealed on the same day as the DAX-listed
automotive giant announced a significant fall in sales for its
flagship brand VW in September.
The weak monthly performance
was attributed by Juergen Stackmann, head of sales, to
operational difficulties stemming from a transition to the new
Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLPT).
As of Sept. 1, the WLTP regulatory regime for exhaust systems
testing has become legally-binding in the European Union (EU).
Technological changes required to fulfill the standards have
been associated with delays in production at several German
carmakers and even led the Volkswagen Group to issue a profit
warning to investors earlier.
In spite of current legal and logistical difficulties,
Stackmann expressed confidence that Volkswagen sales would rise
again strongly in November and December.
The automotive group delivered a total of 513,300 vehicles in
August to customers globally, marking a 3.7 percent increase
compared to the same period last year.
German court criticizes
ex-VW CEO behaviour in 'dieselgate' class action trial
BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) --
The Braunschweig Higher Regional Court has
criticized the response of former Volkswagen chief executive
officer (CEO) Martin Winterkorn to the "dieselgate" scandal
during a closely-watched class action trial on Tuesday.
Christian Jaede, the presiding judge, questioned why
Winterkorn had not told Volkswagen shareholders about potential
issues surrounding the installation of illicit software to
understate nitrogen oxide (NOx) from diesel vehicles after he
was informed internally in July 2015.
The trial which opened on Monday centers on allegations by
investors that Volkswagen failed to inform about its involvement
in emissions-cheating practices in adequate and timely fashion.
The so-called "template lawsuit", in which several plaintiffs
unite to press charges collectively and resolve key questions to
set a legal precedent, was only recently enabled by new
legislation passed by the federal government in Berlin in
response to the "dieselgate" scandal.
In total, the group of mainly institutional investors who
participate in the German "template lawsuit" is now demanding
the repayment of 9 billion euros (10.4 billion U.S. dollars) in
compensation from the carmaker.
A key question of interest to the Braunschweig judges as well
as German public is from which point onwards Volkswagen managers
at the DAX-listed firm became aware of illicit
emissions-cheating practices and would have hence been legally
obliged to issue a warning to shareholders.
Volkswagen has argued that there was no substantive evidence
to justify such a step prior to the publication of accusations
by U.S. environmental regulators in September 2015, whereas the
plaintiffs claim that senior staff had detailed knowledge about
the illegal practices as early as June 2008.
The Braunschweig State Prosecution Office currently lists 49
suspects in its investigations into emissions-cheating at German
A small number of senior Volkswagen executives, including ex-CEO
Winterkorn, his successor Diess and board chairman Hans Dieter
Poetsch are hereby believed to have potentially committed
"market manipulation" offenses under German laws that govern the
conduct of publicly-listed companies.
Speaking on Tuesday, judge Jaede suggested that a
technically-versed Winterkorn should have known about the defeat
devices from 2008 onwards.
In the same year, Volkswagen organized a "diesel strategy"
summit in the United States shortly after the German
Environmental Aid (DUH) group first flagged ongoing
manipulations of test-setting emission readings from the
automotive producer’s diesel exhaust systems.
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