Justice Department lawsuit could cost VW $19 billion

Justice Department lawsuit could cost VW $19 billion

The Justice Department has sued Volkswagen AG for cheating on U.S. emissions standards and importing to the U.S. 600,000 vehicles that could not pass the test in real-world driving conditions. Although the civil suit filing does not discuss dollar amounts, penalties under the Clean Air Act could total more than $19 billion, according to the New York Times.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade called the lawsuit –the first stage in bringing Volkswagen to justice.” Although the suit does not include criminal penalties, some observers expect criminal suits to follow. The advocacy group, The Center for Auto Safety, has called for criminal charges against the automaker.

More than 450 civil lawsuits have been filed against VW so far. Most of those suits have been consolidated and will be heard by a federal judge in San Francisco.

VW brand manager Herbert Diess told reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show that the company is focused on fixing the problem, not on the cost. He is confident that the automaker and EPA will agree on a solution soon.

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