Dieselgate: timeline of a global scandal

Frankfurt am Main (AFP) –


It's been nearly two years since Volkswagen admitted to cheating on diesel emissions tests, setting off a scandal that has spanned the globe and reverberated across the car industry.

Here's a look at some key events since "dieselgate" erupted:

- 2015 -

September 18: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publicly accuses VW of cheating on diesel emissions tests.

September 22: Volkswagen admits installing defeat devices in 11 million diesel engines worldwide that reduced emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides when the vehicle was undergoing lab tests.

September 25: Porsche boss Matthias Mueller takes over as chief executive of the VW group following the resignation of Martin Winterkorn, who denies having known about the scam.

- 2016 -

April 20: Japan's Mitsubishi Motors admits manipulating test data to make its cars seem more fuel-efficient than they were.

May 18: Japan's Suzuki admits to using an emissions testing method not approved by local regulators, but insists it never meant to deceive drivers.

June 7: South Korea lodges a complaint against Nissan, accusing it of manipulating emissions data in diesel cars.

September 21: VW investors file 1,400 lawsuits in a German court seeking 8.2 billion euros ($9.9 billion at current rates) in damages. They accuse the automaker of failing to communicate about the crisis in a timely way.

December 8: The European Commission launches legal action against seven EU nations including Germany for failing to crack down on emissions cheating.

- 2017 -

January 9: VW executive Oliver Schmidt is charged with fraud and conspiracy by US authorities after being arrested while on holiday.

In Britain, thousands of drivers join a class action suit against VW.

February 1: Car parts maker Bosch, which supplied elements of VW's software, agrees to pay some $320 million to US car owners and dealers but admits no wrongdoing.

March 3: Pollution caused by rigged VW diesel cars sold in Germany between 2008 and 2015 will cause 1,200 premature deaths, a study finds.

April 7: French prosecutors probe allegations that PSA, owner of the Peugeot and Citroen brands, cheated on diesel emission tests. They are already investigating Fiat Chrysler and Renault over similar suspicions.

May 11: A US court approves the last in a series of settlements affecting some 600,000 VW customers. VW, which pleaded guilty to fraud, has so far committed to paying more than $22 billion in fines and compensation.

May 23: The US Justice Department files a lawsuit against Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler, accusing it of using software to dupe diesel emissions tests.

May 25: A class action case in the US accuses General Motors of cheating on diesel truck emissions.

July 6: France says it will end sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Three weeks later, Britain announces the same goal.

July 10: Dutch authorities say they suspect Suzuki and Fiat Chrysler of manipulating emissions tests.

July 22: The European Commission probes reports that Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Daimler colluded for years on technical specifications -- including on how to meet emissions standards.

August 12: German Chancellor Angela Merkel accuses auto bosses of "gambling away incredible trust" as worries over pollution and the resale value of diesel cars top voters' concerns ahead of a September election.

August 25: A former VW engineer is sentenced to 40 months in prison in Detroit after pleading guilty to wire fraud and violating clean air laws.

September 1: Europe introduces tougher tests for measuring fuel efficiency and emissions to replace the decades-old New European Driving Cycle tests that were so easily skirted.