The company has accepted increased scrutiny in the forms of various audits by external independent monitors.
In a major development for Volkswagen AG, as part of a $4.3 billion deal with U.S. regulators, Europe’s biggest car manufacturer has agreed to sweeping reforms, new forms of audits and increased oversight by an independent monitor for three years.
VW has finally reached a major milestone in its efforts to move ahead of the diesel emissions investigations.
Under the terms of the settlements, VW has agree to change the way it operates in the U.S. and in other countries.
The company will now have to separate the jobs of certification, testing and monitoring from its product development business.
The independent monitor will get full access to VW’s documents in order to assess the efforts of its board and senior management to comply with various statutes of various environment laws.
The independent monitor will have to file at least two follow-up reports with the U.S. DoJ, as well as conduct onsite interviews in Germany and in the U.S, and potentially anywhere else where VW has a production plant with VW employees.
The development comes when President-elect Donald Trump has come down hard on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for over-regulating U.S. industries.
The EPA has cited this as an example of why rigorous environmental enforcement was required.
“There are some structural changes that we are requiring so there is less ability for these types of things to happen,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA’s Administrator.
As part of the deal, VW will now plead guilty to three felonies and be on probation for 3 years.
VW will also face separate annual audits from environmental management systems for the next three years.
On its part, Volkswagen AG said in a statement, its emission tests are now tested externally and independently. During the course of the next three years, VW will have to test of its U.S. vehicles using portable emissions measurement system testing in order to capture real world emissions. Additionally, it must also provide new protection for whistleblowers.
VW’s Porsche unit will now face separate audits and vehicle testing requirements.