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How the German car industry self-destructs

12 4 9

What a series of more black days for the German auto industry! On Monday, we saw Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche being summoned into the German Transport Ministry for a second time over suspected emissions manipulation. Two days later, prosecutors in Braunschweig slapped a historic €1 billion ($1.2 billion) fine on Volkswagen, the world's largest carmaker by its own definition.

Also this week, law enforcement officers raided the private home of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, who's facing a probe into suspected fraudulent behavior.

Not us! Haha!

The Dieselgate scandal, which started about three years ago when Volkswagen was forced to admit to having installed defeat devices in 11 million cars worldwide, has become a sizeable crisis for the whole industry. It's an industry that still claims to be a model sector (but it isn't anymore) and does not tire of emphasizing its enormous contribution to Germany as an industrial location.

Daimler chief Dieter Zetsche had always made a point of stressing that his company had not been involved in any emissions-cheating schemes, saying that the firm had never installed any switch-off devices. But they did install them as we now know.

We once heard the same "we-are-not-part-of-the-scam" assertions from luxury carmaker BMW. But now the company tells us that the wrong software was used in some models "by mistake." That's a cool excuse, I must say. If the whole matter were not so serious, it would have me in stitches.

German mills grind slowly

In the US, everything related to the Dieselgate pollution scandal happened very fast, including investigations, legal procedures, verdicts and the imposition of........

© Deutsche Welle