Toronto Judge Enzo Rodinelli has just handed Volkswagen a substantial blow when he penalised the German auto maker CAD$196.5 million or AU$218.8 million. The court’s decision also happens to be highest-ever environmental penalty in Canadian history. Prosecutor Tom Lemon said this sum was 26 times greater than previous environmental offenses in Canada.
According to the Financial Post, Volkswagen was charged with 60 counts related to importing approximately 128,000 Volkswagen and Audi cars and 2,000 Porsche vehicles into Canada between 2008 and 2015. Volkswagen plead guilty on all charges.
This probably isn’t your first-time hearing about Volkswagen getting plunged into hot soup over emissions. Back in 2015, the German giant was slapped with a USD$ 2.8 billion (AU$4.09b) fine by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
The scandal was also known as Dieselgate and was caused by an intentionally programmed software that would activate their emissions control protocol only during emissions testing which caused the car to meet US testing standards but would emit 40 times the nitrogen oxide (NOx) in real-world driving. A report by the New York Times suggests that up to 11 million cars worldwide were equipped with this defeat software.
In December 2019, The Sydney Herald reported that the Australian Federal Court convicted Volkswagen of breaching its diesel emission standards and consumer law. They were subsequently penalised AU$125 million – the biggest fine on record for a breach of consumer law.
According to a report by the BBC, the emissions scandal has cost Volkswagen more than 30 billion Euros (AU$48.4b) in fines, penalties and buy back costs worldwide. In May 2019, they set aside an additional 5.5 billion Euros (AU$8.8b) in contingent liabilities as it continued to face penalties and lawsuits around the world.