The scandal rocking Volkswagen, in which the world's second largest car manufacturer is accused of fraud in its emissions tests, could ripple through the entire German automobile industry and "plunge it into a crisis of confidence," the country's leading business newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, writes on Tuesday.
In a scathing column, Holger Appel suggests the scandal will leave the German car industry badly bruised and will dent its hard-built image of high-quality and efficiency. He also points to several "open-ended questions," namely who knew about the incriminated software and why it was covered up. "The reason why, despite its outstanding benefits, VW took such an immense risk is a mystery," Appel writes. "So too is why the company took so long to react."
Volkswagen is being accused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of using a piece of software in its diesel vehicles that can tell the car's computer when it is being tested for emissions. The computer can then drastically reduce those emissions, making the car engine up to 40% cleaner than in normal usage. The manufacturer has been forced to recall half-a-million cars in the U.S. and others in Europe are calling for a inquiry.