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VW 'dieselgate' fraud: Timeline of a scandal

·3-min read
Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to installing software designed to reduce emissions during lab tests in 11 million diesel engines worldwide

VW 'dieselgate' fraud: Timeline of a scandal

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to installing software designed to reduce emissions during lab tests in 11 million diesel engines worldwide

Five years after German car giant Volkswagen admitted to massive emissions cheating in diesel cars, here's a look at the legal and financial fallout.

- 2014 -

US researchers at the University of West Virginia discover that certain VW diesel cars emit up to 40 times the permissible levels of harmful nitrogen oxide when tested on the road.

- 2015 -

September 18: The US Environmental Protection Agency accuses VW of duping diesel emissions tests using so-called "defeat devices".

September 22: Volkswagen admits installing software designed to reduce emissions during lab tests in 11 million diesel engines worldwide. VW shares plunge by 40 percent in two days.

September 23: Chief executive Martin Winterkorn steps down but insists he knew nothing of the scam. 

- 2016 -

April 22: VW announces its first annual loss in 20 years.

June 28: VW agrees to pay $14.7 billion in buybacks, compensation and penalties in a mammoth settlement with US authorities. The deal includes cash payouts for nearly 500,000 US drivers.

- 2017 -

January 11: VW pleads guilty to three US charges including fraud.

As part of the plea deal, VW signs up to a "statement of facts" in which it admits that the cheating dates back to 2006, but it remains unclear how much the top brass knew about the scam.

February 1: Car parts maker Bosch, which supplied elements of the software, agrees to pay nearly $330 million to US car owners and dealers but admits no wrongdoing.

August 25: A Michigan court sentences VW engineer James Liang to 40 months in prison.

December 6: VW executive Oliver Schmidt, who was arrested while on holiday in Florida, is sentenced to seven years in jail.

- 2018 -

February 23: VW roars back to profit after record sales in 2017.

May 3: Winterkorn is indicted in the US, accused of trying to cover up the cheating.

June 13: VW agrees to pay a one billion euro fine in Germany, admitting responsibility for the diesel crisis.

June 18: Rupert Stadler, CEO of VW's Audi subsidiary, is arrested in Germany, accused of fraud.

September 10: Shareholders' case against VW claiming nine billion euros of damages opens in Germany's Brunswick.

October 16: Audi agrees to pay a fine of 800 million euros in Germany.

- 2019 -

January 10: Scandal engulfs other automobile giants with Fiat Chrysler agreeing to a $515 million settlement in the US over charges it used defeat devices.

February 25: German prosecutors fine BMW 8.5 million euros over diesels with higher harmful emissions than allowed, but find no criminal wrong-doing.

May 7: Porsche agrees to pay a fine of 535 million euros in Germany.

September 24: Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler agrees to an 870 million euro fine in Germany.

- 2020 -

February 28: VW agrees to pay 750 million euros in compensation to 235,000 German customers in an out-of-court settlement. The scandal has cost it more than 30 billion euros so far.

May 19: VW CEO Herbert Diess and supervisory board chair Hans Dieter Poetsch avoid trial over market manipulation charges after VW agrees to a nine million euro settlement.

May 25: A German court orders VW to buy back a rigged diesel from its owner, setting the template for thousands of cases brought by individual claimants.

September 9 and 24: A German court says Winterkorn must stand trial over charges of fraud and market manipulation.

September 13: Daimler agrees to pay $2.2 billion to settle emissions cheating charges in the US.

September 30: Former Audi boss Stadler becomes the first top executive to go on trial over "dieselgate".