German prosecutors and the U.S. Department of Justice, DOJ, have Robert Bosch GmbH under investigation in the Volkswagen emission scandal. In July 2016, the district judge preliminarily approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit that was filed against Volkswagen. If final approval is received, the company will compensate those that purchased or leased a Volkswagen or Audi 2.0-liter TDI vehicle on or after September 15, 2015. Close to $15 billion will be used to compensate owners and lessees, to support environmental programs and to promote nonpolluting vehicles.
Bosch GmbH is the world’s largest supplier of components in automotive and industrial technologies. The company is a limited liability company that is headquartered in Germany, but has operations in the United States.
In addition to the ongoing investigations, vehicle owners have filed a lawsuit against Bosch alleging that the company knew and profited from the software that it provided to Volkswagen. The court documents state that Bosch conspired with Volkswagen to develop the software, and that in 2008 the company asked Volkswagen for legal protection in the event that the devices were used in the United States. It was reported that, although Volkswagen refused that request, Bosch continued to supply the devices. According to Jalopnik, consumer lawyers stated in a court documents that “the evidence already proves that Bosch played a critical role in a scheme to evade U.S. emission requirements”.
The investigation by U.S. and German officials centers around discovering whether Bosch was actually aware and an active participant in what has been dubbed “defeat devices”. Phys.Org reported that Bosch is taking the allegations seriously, and has indicated it is conducting its own internal inquiry. It also reported that Bosch has said that it had funds set aside to cover potential legal claims. According to Bosch, as reported by Fortune, it supplied devices to Volkswagen, but the responsibility of regulating emissions is up to the carmakers.
This scandal and the resulting lawsuits are another indication of the lengths that companies will go to make money. Time and time again lawsuits have been filed and settled in cases that have resulted in harm to either individuals or the environment because the main concern of those companies are profits. It is apparent they are making plenty since monetary settlements generally range in the millions. There is only so much regulation that can instituted by outside agencies, and enforcing those regulations can be difficult, if not impossible in some cases.