Volkswagen was recently found to have cheated on gas emissions tests for its diesel cars, installing software designed to register lower emissions than in reality.
The scandal has had a significant effect on Volkswagen as a company and its reputation in the immediate future.
Perhaps the biggest change for Volkswagen is the fact that Martin Winterkorn has stepped down as CEO, with Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller stepping up to the plate to lead the company toward a more transparent future.
Volkswagen admitted to rigging a total of 11 million cars with the manipulative software, which actually emitted as much as 40 times the U.S. standard for diesel cars.
Of course, Volkswagen won't be able to get off that easy. The Environmental Protection Agency has begun its crackdown, joining regulators in Europe and South America in testing Volkswagen cars in real-world driving conditions. The EPA said in a letter to auto companies that it will rely on these real-world tests rather than on statements by automakers and lab testing. The EPA will also be checking for the presence of software designed to deceive emission tests.
Again, Volkswagen won't be getting off that easy. A long line of class action lawsuits is set to hit the company, and Volkswagen has hired the same lawyers who defended BP after it created a massive oil spill.
It only took lawyers in the U.S. a matter of days to sue Volkswagen. So many people own cars that are involved in the scandal that the lawyers didn't have to look very far to find clients.
It's too early to estimate just how much Volkswagen will have to pay out in the lawsuits, but it's likely that the final amount will be pretty huge, considering just how many people own Volkswagen cars. Volkswagen says that it has reserved $7.3 billion for any costs related to the scandal.