Tax Breaks on Volkswagen TDI Vehicles Scrutinized by U.S.
Company Lobbied for Tax Incentives for Diesel Customers
According to a report published in Reuters, U.S. prosecutors could soon begin scrutinizing the tax breaks received by Volkswagen customers in the company’s push to promote its clean diesel vehicles. VW’s campaign could result in civil penalties or criminal charges against the automaker or its officers (one of whom has already resigned) if prosecutors can prove representatives from Volkswagen intentionally misrepresented the cars’ emissions in an effort to secure the tax break.
The company has set aside $7.3 billion to cover the cost of the scandal worldwide, which we refuse to acknowledge as Dieselgate (we prefer Volkswageddon). However, penalties in America alone could reach up to $18 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency, although most commentators agree that number is extremely unlikely.
In the event that criminal or civil charges are filed against Volkswagen, Reuters reports that the company may be able to drum up a defense. Since VW hasn’t admitted to out-and-out negligent fraud, it’s possible that the devices found on many different VW and Audi models could have been installed not to defeat emissions tests, but to allow the vehicles to be tested by a variety of different overseas regulators. If that’s the case, criminal negligence and fraud charges would likely be dropped, and civil penalties and/or recalls could be the only “punishments.”
In other VW-related news, the company’s stop-sale has extended to all diesel models until they can be properly retested and certified. Governments all over the world have begun investigations of the automaker, including Japan, Canada, and Germany.
It’s not looking good, folks.