Volkswagen's emissions scandal is so massive that the automaker might not have a scope on the magnitude for how costly it even is.
According to the New York Times, the embattled automaker announced Friday that it's delaying its annual earnings report and postponing its annual shareholders meeting over uncertainty about the cost of its emissions-cheating mess.
The Times reports that the postponements indicate how arduous it is for VW to calculate the damages and prepare legitimate financial paperwork to support its costs to recall 11 million faulty diesel vehicles stemming from its emissions scandal — the worst in the company's 78-year history.
As of yet, it's unclear what VW postponing its annual earnings report presentation, which was scheduled for March 10, and annual shareholders meeting — slated for April 21 — means to the three-month deadline that the company's second-largest shareholder gave the automaker late last month to come clean about the origins of its emissions scandal.
After the United States' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rejected VW's proposed fix for an estimated 580,000 vehicles affected in the country earlier last month, Stephan Weil had given the company up until April 21 to cough up the root of its emissions manipulation.
Friday's announcement seemingly puts everything up in the air for an automaker that desperately needs to be as clear as can be at the time.
"It shows that VW is very uncertain where to go from here," Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a University of Duisburg-Essen professor, told the Times. "They don't know what to say to their shareholders."
Volkswagen spokesperson Eric Felber tried to save face for the company, telling the Times that the decision to delay the announcement of the annual earnings report and shareholders meeting doesn't spell any new information about its scandal, adding that the company just needs more time to work on its total costs.
At this point, VW's massive recall to make 11 million faulty diesel models compliant with emissions regulations could cost well over a projected $7 billion, and that's not even including the very likely regulatory fines from countries and lawsuits from drivers, which could add tens of billions onto its growing tab of damages.
While the recall to repair affected vehicles is already underway in Europe, VW has yet to reach an agreement over a possible emissions-fix proposal in the U.S.