2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
It's been more than four months since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed the use of "defeat device" software in Volkswagen diesel cars, but the company still isn't ready to start a recall in the U.S.
And while VW works to find a solution to the emissions issue, it faces multiple lawsuits from both government agencies and disgruntled customers.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it was suing Volkswagen for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act--meaning the company now faces potentially billions of dollars in penalties.
So perhaps it's not surprising that Volkswagen is looking for backup.
And it apparently thinks a former head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) can provide it.
Louis Freeh led the FBI from 1993 to 2001, and Volkswagen plans to hire him to deal with regulatory issues related to the diesel scandal, according to a report from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, translated by Automotive News Europe (subscription required).
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI SE
Freeh would reportedly come aboard as an adviser to help VW deal with U.S. regulators, although the company has not confirmed his appointment.
The former FBI chief was hired by Daimler in 2010 to monitor anti-bribery measures after the company agreed to pay a $185 million fine to the U.S. government as the result of a corruption case.
Christine Hohmann-Dennhard--Volkswagen's new director of integrity and legal affairs--worked with Freeh at Daimler, and has pushed for his appointment by VW, according to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung report.
This is just one piece of news in what's already become an interesting and news-filled week for Volkswagen.
As well as the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit and numerous customer suits, the company is now being sued by the South Korean government--and by its own shareholders.
South Korea's environmental agency filed criminal charges against VW that could lead to $48 billion in penalties. It also filed charges against Johannes Thammer, head of VW Korea, who faces a fine of up to $24,800 and up to five years in prison.
2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI
Meanwhile, VW shareholders in Germany are suing over the losses in stock value caused by the diesel-emission scandal.
Shares stood at around $170 before news of the scandal broke in late September, but are now valued at about $110--with some dips below $100 over the past few months.
Finally, Hinrich Woebcken was named new head of North American operations for the main Volkswagen brand yesterday.
Woebcken comes to VW from Knorr-Bremse, a German supplier of braking systems for rail and commercial vehicles. He previously worked at BMW, primarily in purchasing.
Michael Horn remains president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America; U.S. dealers reportedly urged that he be kept on rather than fired after news of the scandal first broke.