VW to offer incentives for diesel owners to adopt cleaner models


Oliver Schmidt, who is a Volkswagen executive has been pleaded guilty in District Court of United States in Detroit in connection with a massive diesel emissions trouble and has cost as much as $25 billion to the German automaker.

In accepting a plea deal from USA federal officials, Schmidt will only plead guilty to two charges: conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and violate the Clean Air Act, and making a false statement under the Clean Air Act. Prosecutors also leveled a second stand-alone charge of violating the Clean Air Act. He will be sentenced on December 6, Reuters reported. He could face up to seven years in prison, as well as fines from $40,000 to $400,000, according to the plea agreement.

Schmidt, a German national, has been incarcerated since his arrest in Miami in January, and there was no discussion of possible release during today's hearing. For several years, Schmidt shepherded Volkswagen's vehicles through a diesel emission certification process and said the company's vehicles met regulatory standards.

US authorities had been pressing Volkswagen over emissions-test discrepancies, and the cheating had been going for several years.

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Schmidt, who worked at Volkswagen's research and development center in Auburn Hills, has been portrayed as a central figure in the VW scandal uncovered by researchers in 2015, which led to civil settlements worth about $17 billion for USA consumers and dealers who own the automaker's diesel vehicles and an additional $4.3 billion to settle criminal charges. It pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.

In 2015, the company admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide were equipped with software that could be used to cheat on emissions tests.

The software detected when cars were being tested and turned the emissions controls off during normal driving.

Volkswagen AG was the first German carmaker which was revealed to have installed illegal software which falsified emissions test results for its diesel vehicles in 2015.