It has been five years since the dieselgate scandal rocked the global automotive industry, and it seems it is far from over.
Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler who has appeared before a court in Germany will go on trial over the Volkswagen dieselgate issue. Stadler will be the first senior executive to stand trial nearly five years since the Volkswagen Group admitted to the manipulation of emissions test results. He will be joined by three other Volkswagen Group executives and engineers including former Audi and Porsche development head, Wolfgang Hatz.
According to prosecutors, Stadler is accused of knowingly selling cars that had manipulated engine software and were not compliant with environmental standards. He has denied all the accusations made against him.
As we speak, not a single executive has been convicted over the whole dieselgate issue in Europe. However, the same can't be said in the US as two Volkswagen employees have already been sentenced to jail for their involvement in the cheating scandal. Volkswagen engineer, James Liang was jailed for 40 months after pleading guilty to conspiracy. Liang was joined by Oliver Schmidt who was sentenced to seven years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to fraud.
The legal arguments involving Stadler's involvement are scheduled to take place until the end of 2022.
The Dieselgate issue has already cost Volkswagen nearly 30 billion euros in fines, legal costs, and compensations to owners in the US. Last April, the automaker settled Germany's biggest lawsuit agreeing to pay around 750 million euros to around 260,000 customers - that translated to 1,350 to 6,257 euros per customer.
Will this be the last we hear of dieselgate? With the way things are looking, that may be unlikely. Since the trial of Stadler is set to move into and possibly beyond 2022, expect more lawsuits, settlements, and even court appearances of top executives in the months and years to come.