5 years after diesel emissions scandal began, VW seeks a clean break from dirty past


2005: Volkswagen engineers begin development on EA189 diesel engine, subsequently add software to modify performance to pass emissions tests.

May 2014: California Air Resources Board is informed that VW diesel emissions increase during road operations; VW CEO Martin Winterkorn reportedly notified.

Sept. 3, 2015: Volkswagen executives tell CARB and EPA of the existence of “defeat device” software during meeting in California.

Sept. 18, 2015: EPA issues notice of violation of the Clean Air Act involving 2009-15 Volkswagen and Audi 2.0-liter turbodiesel engines. Stop-sale subsequently issued. Winterkorn resigns 5 days later.

Nov. 2, 2015: EPA issues a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act involving 2014-16 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines.

Nov. 19, 2015: Volkswagen officials notify EPA that the defeat device software has existed in all of its U.S. 3.0-liter diesel models since 2009.

January 2016: U.S. Department of Justice files civil suit against VW, seeking up to $46 billion for Clean Air Act violations.

October 2016: In a settlement with California and federal regulators, VW agrees to spend up to $10.03 billion on vehicle buybacks and owner compensation in the U.S., plus $4.7 billion on emissions offset programs and boosting clean-vehicle projects.

Nov. 1, 2016: VW begins accepting and processing claims from consumers who purchased or leased its diesel vehicles.

January 2017: VW executive Oliver Schmidt, who was in charge of Volkswagen’s U.S. emissions compliance, arrested in Florida by U.S. authorities. Volkswagen pleads guilty to 3 U.S. felonies, agrees to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal fines.

May 3, 2018: Winterkorn indicted in the U.S.

June 18, 2018: Rupert Stadler, CEO of Audi, arrested in Germany.

Sept. 30, 2018: Claims deadline expires for 2.0-liter diesel engines in the U.S. In total, 467,701 claimants were issued offer letters, including 373,623 who sold back their vehicles or terminated leases early for $7.83 billion in payouts.

April 15, 2019: Prosecutors in Germany charge Winterkorn with fraud and breach of trust and breach of competition laws.

May 30, 2020: Claims deadline for 3.0-liter diesel engines expires. In total, 69,417 eligible claimants were issued offers, including 16,832 who sold back their vehicles or terminated leases early for $684,500,000 in payouts.

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