December 18, 2018 — German car manufacturer Volkswagen could be facing fines after illegally selling pre-production test vehicles.
According to Der Spigel, the automaker has been selling the test vehicles to unsuspecting buyers in Europe and North America since 2006. Volkswagen came clean to Germany’s motor transport authority back in September, admitting to the illegal practice. Instead of heading to recycling yards, the vehicles were sold as new or used depending on the mileage.
In order for the process to have been legal, Volkswagen would have had to document exactly how the test cars differed from the final production version and inform both industry regulators and the company’s own dealers about the vehicles complete history. This, however, was never done.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess allegedly knew about the situation since 2016, yet nothing was resolved until the company came forward earlier this year. According to Drive, Volkswagen appears not to have any documentation on what defects the cars might have.
Volkswagen is not aware of any crashes, injuries or deaths related to the test cars and “deeply regrets” the deceit. A recall in Europe has been announced by the company, in an effort to take the cars in question off the road.
In Germany authorities are currently looking into whether or not to impose heavier fines on Volkswagen. Earlier in June the company was fined one billion Euros for organizational deficiencies that ultimately led to an emissions cheating scandal. The automaker could also be facing a new set of lawsuits from customers and dealers involved in the purchasing of test model vehicles.