“I am endlessly sorry that we betrayed the trust of millions of people.”

– VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, prior to stepping down

“These events will accelerate the demise of diesel in Europe”

– UBS automotive industry analyst Philippe Houchois

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health.”

– EPA enforcement offi cer Cynthia Giles

“Germany’s entire auto industry is at stake here”

– Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper

“VW is the Lance Armstrong of automakers”

– Industry analyst Max Warburton

“I don’t think you can do something like this hiding in the bushes.”

– Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn

“Our company was dishonest. In my German words, we totally screwed up.”

– VW America president Michael Horn

“This is not a minor subject; it’s not about speed or the quality of leather. What we are dealing with is making sure people avoid being poisoned by pollution.”

– French Finance Minister Michael Sapin


THIS is not the first time the US Environmental Protection Agency has taken Volkswagen to task over so-called emission control ‘defeat devices’.

In July 1973 – that’s right, 42 years ago – the EPA took legal action against the company over the sale of 25,000 vehicles sold with two such defeat devices.

The EPA said: “The ‘defeat devices’ consist of two temperature sensing switches which deactivate part of the emissions control system. One cuts out the exhaust gas recirculation system at low temperatures ... the other overrides the transmission controlled spark advance system at low temperatures.”

VW admitted no wrongdoing, but paid a $US120,000 fine. At the same time, the EPA ordered Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota to stop using similar devices.