Germany investigates Volkswagen for tax evasion related to CO2 understatement

Volkswagen Beetle TDI
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Volkswagen is under investigation in Germany for tax evasion related to inaccurate claims of emissions levels from both gasoline and diesel cars. Because taxes in Germany are tied to rated carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions levels, authorities believe VW’s underreporting could have prevented the government from receiving its proper share.

The investigation focuses on five unnamed Volkswagen employees, according to Automotive News Europe (subscription required). It’s being conducted by prosecutors in Brunswick, near VW headquarters in Wolfsburg. Prosecutors are primarily looking into tax evasion, but the investigation could also involve fraud, a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said.

The damage caused by tax evasion is “not insignificant,” according to a member of the prosecutor’s office. Allegations stem from Volkswagen’s announcement earlier this month that it understated CO2 emissions levels for about 800,000 cars. The reporting error includes both gasoline and diesel cars from VW, and its component brands. The company expects to spend 2 billion euros (about $2.1 billion) dealing with the issue.

Volkswagen has said that no recall will be necessary to address the problem, indicating that it is only a reporting issue, and not one that affects the performance of the vehicles themselves, like the ongoing “dieselgate” scandal. The costs estimated by VW likely include compensation payments to customers and fines that may result from prosecution.

The same Brunswick prosecutors are also looking into the diesel-emissions scandal. Last month, they raided VW’s headquarters as part of the probe. Volkswagen has admitted to installing “defeat device” software on 11 million cars worldwide, which allows cars to detect the conditions of an emissions test and alter performance.

Volkswagen has only admitted that the software allowed cars to cheat on U.S. emissions tests, nit European tests. It’s set aside $7.3 billion to deal with the entirety of the scandal, and drastically cut investments and research projects.


Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.