Wednesday wasn’t a good day for Volkswagen. Yesterday Tesla’s market capitalization passed the $100 million threshold for the first time, overtaking Volkswagen Group to become the second most valuable automaker in the world.
To add salt to the wound, the Government of Canada hit VW with a fine of $196.5 million for importing diesel vehicles that knowingly breached emissions standards, otherwise known as ‘dieselgate’.
After the scandal broke in 2015 when VW admitted to cheating US emissions tests, the federal government charged the German automaker with 60 counts for importing approximately 128,000 VW and Audi vehicles and 2,000 Porsche vehicles into Canada between 2008 and 2015.
In handing out the fine, Justice Enzo Rondinelli found Volkswagen guilty on all charges and said it should serve as notice to other companies that Canada takes environmental issues very seriously.
“A new era of environmental protection is upon us, it’s no longer a matter of companies paying minimal fines and seeing it as a cost of doing business.”
The nearly $200 million fine is the largest environmental fine ever in Canada, and not by a small margin either. Prosecutors for the government said it was 26 times higher than any previous penalty imposed by them.
In a statement after receiving the fine, Volkswagen said they acknowlege their wrongdoings and want to “make things right in Canada and strengthen its global compliance policies,“, and that the money from the fine “will be used to support environmental projects nationally and in the provinces across the country.”