Volkswagen Fined $121 Million for Missing Emissions Targets

Hey, remember that large legacy automaker that made flashy promises about switching entirely to electric vehicles after they got caught cheating emissions tests and poisoning customers? I wonder how that transition is going?

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen faces a fine of more than 100 million euros ($121 million) for missing EU targets on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from its 2020 passenger car fleet, the world’s largest carmaker said on Thursday.


Huh, so better than expected then.

That implied EU fines amounting to a “very low triple-digit million amount,” a spokesman said.


“Well, we got fined for polluting too much. We got fined millions of dollars. Like, triple-digit millions of dollars. But –– on the bright side –– as far as fines that are triple-digit millions of dollars go, it’s very low.”

Concerned about global warming, as well as air pollution, European policymakers have clamped down on exhaust emissions, forcing carmakers to spur development of low-emission technology or face a penalty of 95 euros per gram of excess CO2 they emit.


You’re going to see these kinds of regulations more and more often. Anyone that pollutes will face a Pigovian Tax. Only zero-emissions technology will be profitable, and this will accelerate the transition off fossil fuels. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something along these lines in the United States with President Biden now in office and Democrats in control of both houses of congress.

“We narrowly missed the fleet target for 2020, thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement, adding he hoped to meet the target this year as the company’s main brands bring out new electric models.


Classic case of “big rona ate my homework”. Anything that went wrong in the business world in 2020 is blamed on this go-to excuse. The reality is that Volkswagen missed their emissions targets because the ID.3 software was such a disaster they had to delay shipping the car.

The group said it had already made provisions for the fines to avoid a hit to its fourth-quarter earnings.


“Don’t worry, we knew we weren’t going to meet emissions targets so we already accounted for this failure in advance while simultaneously hyping up our EV efforts”

German rivals Daimler and BMW have said that they had achieved their CO2 goals following a rise in sales of electric models.


That’s embarrassing. Volkswagen is supposed to be the one that’s most committed to electric vehicles. Apparently that’s all hype: Competitors met their emissions targets, while Volkswagen failed to meet theirs. Now we know the real reason why Volkswagen talks about EVs so much: To mask the fact that they still butter their bread by selling tens of millions of polluting cars every year.

Volkswagen said deliveries of electric models in the EU, plus Britain, Iceland and Norway, more than quadrupled in 2020 to 315,400 vehicles, making the group the clear market leader with about a quarter of the all-electric market in western Europe.


That is some insane growth in the EU. Gigafactory Berlin can not open soon enough.

Volkswagen is reducing the number combustion-engined cars it offers and retooling more factories to build electric vehicles to try to keep up with electric carmaker Tesla.

It has said the EU’s more stringent emissions targets will force it to boost the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in its European car sales to 60% by 2030, up from a previous target of 40%.


60% hyrbids by 2030? Yikes. With a plan like that, you’re not going to make it to 2030. Something at least as aggressive as “100% electric by 2025” would make VW more likely to survive, but we all know legacy automakers’ product development cycles are too long for that.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating emissions tests on diesel engines, a scandal that has cost it more than 30 billion euros in regulatory fines and vehicle refits, mostly in the United States.


Thanks for reminding everyone, but we won’t forget.

Read the full story on Reuters

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