Volkswagen suffered a new setback when an executive was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States over the company's diesel emissions cheating and the automaker was accused of concealing the cheating from regulators. Sonia Legg reports.
Last week he was a Florida tourist - this week Oliver Schmidt is behind bars. The VW executive has been charged with fraud and conspiracy by not disclosing a cheating device used to rig U.S. diesel emissions tests. He appeared at the U.S. district court in Miami on Monday after he was arrested attempting to return to Germany. The FBI complaint did not charge the company with a crime. But it's still a setback for VW, attempting to move on at the Detroit Auto show. (SOUNDBITE (English) HINRICH WOEBCKEN, CEO OF VOLKSWAGEN NORTH AMERICA SAYING: "We were also surprised yesterday by this news. We continue to work closely with the agencies and with the government." The buzz at Detroit was VW's electric concept. The I.D. Buzz is similar to a bus made by the auto maker in the 1960s. (SOUNDBITE (English) HINRICH WOEBCKEN, CEO OF VOLKSWAGEN NORTH AMERICA SAYING: "We are encouraged by where we ended up in terms of sales. With this quick glimpse of the past, we are definitely very optimistic about our prospects in 2017." A large SUV will also be available later this year. But there are numerous other court cases looming too. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WILSON KING INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, HEAD OF RESEARCH, RICHARD HUNTER, SAYING: "It's easy to make comparison with Volkswagen and the likes of BP after the Gulf of Mexico spill. Litigation, repayments and of course environmental impact all of these things took a number of years to unwind and it rather seems that the US is extensively getting its teeth into Volkswagen at the moment." Schmidt may certainly feel well and truly bitten. He appeared in court wearing prison uniform and shackles.