Bosch pays 90-million-euro fine over diesel scandal

The penalty may be significantly less than the ones handed out to Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, but auto parts supplier Bosch has become the latest big-name casualty of the "Dieselgate" scandal.

German auto parts supplier Bosch was on Thursday ordered by prosecutors to pay a fine of €90 million ($100 million) over its role supplying components in the "Dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal. 

Cars and Transportation | 07.05.2019

Stuttgart investigators "levied a fine against Robert Bosch GmbH for negligently infringing its quality control obligations," they said in a statement, adding that the company had agreed not to contest the fine.

Read more: As Dieselgate scandal widens, will Germany finally tackle transport emissions?

Beginning in 2008, Bosch "delivered around 17 million motor control and mixture control devices to various domestic and foreign manufacturers, some of whose software contained illegal strategies," the prosecutors found. "Cars fitted with the devices emitted more nitrogen oxides than allowed under regulations."

Business | 16.04.2019

Dieselgate: A timeline

The disaster unfolds

About two weeks after Volkswagen admitted behind closed doors to US environmental regulators that it had installed cheating software in some 11 million of its diesel vehicles worldwide, the Environmental Protection Agency shared that information with the public. It was September 18, 2015. The ensuing crisis would eventually take a few unexpected turns.

Dieselgate: A timeline

The boss must go, long live the boss

Volkswagen's then-CEO Martin Winterkorn (above) had little choice but to step down several days after news of the scandal broke. In September, he tendered his resignation, but retained his other posts within the Volkswagen Group. Winterkorn's successor was Matthias Müller. Until taking the reins at VW, Müller had been the chairman at Porsche, a VW subsidiary.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Raiding headquarters

Regulators in the US weren't the only ones investigating VW. Authorities in Lower Saxony, the German state in which VW is based, were also scrutinizing the company. On October 8, state prosecutors raided VW's headquarters along with several other corporate locations.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Hell breaks loose

On January 4, 2016, the US government filed a lawsuit against VW in Detroit, accusing the German automaker of fraud and violations of American climate protection regulations. The lawsuit sought up to $46 billion for violations of the Clean Air Act.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Quit or forced out?

In March, the head of VW in the US, Michael Horn, resigned. In the initial days and weeks after the scandal broke, he was the one US authorities turned to for information. He issued an official apology on behalf of the automaker, asking for the public's forgiveness.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Settlement

On October 25, a US judge approved a final settlement that would have VW pay $15.3 billion. In addition, affected cars would be retrofitted with better, non-deceptive hardware and software, or else VW would buy them back completely from customers.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Imitators

When dieselgate first emerged in 2015, analysts said it was likely other car makers were also cheating tests. But it wasn't until 2017 that other companies were targeted in probes. In July, German authorities launched investigations into luxury car makers Porsche and Daimler for allegedly cheating emissions tests. Others, such as Audi and Chrysler, have also been hit by similar allegations.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Public still supportive

Despite dieselgate, VW has managed to keep the emissions scandal from utterly tarnishing its image. According to several polls, between 55 to 67 percent of Germans continue to trust the automaker. In the US, polls show that roughly 50 percent still believe the German company produces worthwhile vehicles.

Dieselgate: A timeline

Fuming over monkeys

In late January, however, VW suffered another heavy blow over reports that the company experimented on monkeys and made the animals inhale diesel fumes. To make matters worse, a separate experiment that had humans inhale relatively harmless nitrogen dioxide was revealed at the same time. Some media wrongly interpreted this to mean humans were also inhaling toxic fumes.

In 2015, Volkswagen admitted to fitting 11 million cars worldwide with such technology, and the fallout has so far cost the German auto giant more than €30 billion. Further legal proceedings are outstanding against both VW and former executives as individuals.

The fine on Bosch comes after penalties were imposed on VW, Audi and Porsche. For Bosch, the fine closes legal proceedings against the company over Dieselgate.

While prosecutors are still probing whether employees were involved in criminal actions, authorities believe "the initiative for the integration and form of the illegal strategies both came from employees at the car manufacturers" rather than suppliers like Bosch.

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Business | 15.04.2019

Fraud charges against former VW CEO Winterkorn

sri/rt (AFP, dpa)

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