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Volkswagen gambled its very existence to cheat on emissions.


In the largest Clean Air Act settlement in history, Volkswagen will pay $14.7 billion for cheating on emissions standards in the United States. But that huge sum is only a fraction of the monetary hits the company faces.

Since VW admitted to an emissions cheating scandal last year, its market value has tanked. The car company conceded to installing software in 11 million diesel cars that misrepresented how much pollution they emitted. While their advertisements touted clean diesel, in some cases actual pollution reached 40 times the levels permitted by U.S. regulations. And while the settlement in the United States is historic, it included under 500,000 cars. Over eight million cars were affected in Europe, and the company will likely have to pay up there, too.

According to The New York Times, VW has set aside $17.9 billion in costs related to the scandal, which may not be near enough. Its profits have dropped 19 percent overall, with sales slumping in markets like Brazil, Russia, and China. In Europe, sales were stagnant, but consumers are incensed.

Meanwhile, Germany is investigating VW executives. Shareholders are suing the company. VW may have already forfeited a chunk of change, but the company’s ordeals are far from over.