Volkswagen may have to cut jobs in the United States, Europe and elsewhere depending on how big a fine has to be paid for its manipulation of diesel emissions tests. That's the warning from the carmaker's top labour official. Sonia Legg reports
Nervous times for VW workers. 20,000 gathered at the Wolfsburg headquarters to hear from the boss. (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT VOLKSWAGEN AG, MATTHIAS MÜLLER, SAYING: "You might have heard, read or seen it in the last couple of days: We were accused of trying to hide things and sweep them under the carpet. Let me assure you: This is not the case, it is not true. I say it again: We are in the process of clarifying things." But jobs are at risk in Europe, the US and beyond - if fines for rigging emissions tests are too high. The U.S. Justice department is suing for up to $46 billion for breaching environmental laws. And there's still no fix for nearly 700,000 cars affected there. SOUNDBITE (German) WORKERS UNION BOSS AND MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AT VOLKSWAGEN AG, BERND OSTERLOH, SAYING: "If that fine - which in its amount is a first for Volkswagen - should become a threat to the future of the company, then there will be extensive social costs. Not only at our US plants but also in Europe and elsewhere. We do hope the US authorities will consider that dimension." VW set aside 6.7 billion euros last year to cover the expected costs of recalling 11 million diesel vehicles globally. It's postponed its 2015 results until the end of April in order to assess the financial implications. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "For investors it's a very difficult time to sit tight and see this through - you have to have faith that the board has a strategy to get out of the other side and continue to grow as they have done historically." But having faith isn't easy with so many unknowns. And to make matters worse German prosecutors have just widened their investigation into VW. They now have 17 suspects - instead of six.