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Car and Driver: A Fine Mess: Volkswagen to Pay Further Penalties in California, None in Germany


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When it comes to air pollution, what’s good enough for America simply isn’t for the Golden State. As such, the California Attorney General is slapping VW with $86 million in additional fines on top of the $14.7 billion demanded by the Feds in penance for its cheaty diesel emissions systems. In the automaker’s native Germany, on the other hand, the industrial titan will face no financial penalties, and, well, environmentally minded Germans are a mite grumpy about that.

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office will collect $76 million of the state’s settlement with the automaker, while the remainder will be meted out in the form of grants to universities and other agencies with the stated goal of detecting non-compliant emissions systems that attempt to skirt the law, according to Automotive News.

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Meanwhile, in Germany, Bloomberg reports that the Ministry of Transport has determined that it is simply enough for VW to return the cars to an emissions-compliant state, avoiding a costly buyback program like the one instituted for U.S. customers. Worth noting is that in Germany alone, the number of affected TDI vehicles on the road is more than quadruple the 485,000 models ensnared in the U.S. kerfuffle. Furthermore, 20 percent of VW is owned by the government of the German state of Lower Saxony, making huge fines akin to a case of penalizing Dieter to compensate Paul.

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Needless to say, the situation doesn’t sit well with some Germans, who resent the preferential treatment American customers are seeing, and suggest that the government has capitulated to Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Müller’s protestations that an American-style compensation program in Germany could sink the company.

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