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Volkswagen Latest: U.S. Sales Stall, German Prosecutors Veer From Criminal Probe

Volkswagen sales slowed after it was revealed that the company had been cheating emissions tests by outfitting some diesel cars with "defeat devices."
Markus Schreiber AP
Volkswagen sales slowed after it was revealed that the company had been cheating emissions tests by outfitting some diesel cars with "defeat devices."

Following the emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen in late September, the German car company reported less than 1 percent growth in sales for the month.

Reuters reports that Volkswagen sales "increased by just 0.56 percent to 26,141 vehicles, showing the effect of the halt in sales" of the 4-cylinder diesel cars that were found to have been outfitted with "defeat devices" in order to pass emissions tests.

For comparison, General Motors Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Ford Motor Co. each posted double-digit percentage increases, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, German prosecutors, who announced Monday that they were beginning a criminal probe into former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, now say there is in fact no such investigation.

"There is currently no formal investigation of Prof. Dr. Winterkorn ongoing," the prosecutors office in Braunschweig, Germany said, according to Esme Nicholson reporting for NPR. The investigation is focused on the auto maker broadly, not on any one individual.

Nicholson reports:

"Prosecutors say they regret any 'confusion' they may have caused with a previous press release, adding that they are conducting a 'preliminary investigation' into the company based on criminal complaints filed by citizens and by a complaint filed by Volkswagen itself."

She also says that the Volkswagen board announced Thursday it will "postpone the next shareholders' meeting until the company can provide well-founded answers to questions about the cheating scandal."

Meanwhile, owners of the affected Volkswagen cars are left in the lurch, waiting for engineers to announce a fix for the emissions problem.

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