After rigging emissions tests to fool regulators, Volkswagen appears to have belatedly decided that honesty is the best policy. Michael Horn, the chief of the German automaker's US business, told an audience at an event in New York last night that the company had cheated, the BBC reports. "Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California air resources board and with all of you, and in my German words: We have totally screwed up," he said, promising that the company would "make this right" and "will pay what we have to pay." The company will face around $18 billion in fines in the US alone, and countries such as South Korea are now also investigating emissions from Volkswagen's diesel vehicles, the AP reports.
Volkswagen may be punished with more than fines: Sources tell Bloomberg that the Justice Department—which recently launched a push to go after individuals as well as corporations in cases of corporate wrongdoing—is considering criminal proceedings, which could involve executives in both Germany and the US. The scandal has already wiped more than $16 billion off Volkswagen's share price and the fallout could just be beginning. Experts tell the Guardian that the use of software to cheat emissions tests could be widespread in other countries and with other manufacturers. (Some 500,000 diesel Volkswagen vehicles in the US have been recalled, and Consumer Reports has yanked its favorable ratings.)