VW plans 'cash-for-clunkers' scheme for diesel cars

Mercedes BMW And VW

Mercedes BMW And VW

DETROIT (AP) - A German Volkswagen executive pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and fraud charges in Detroit in a scheme to cheat emission rules on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles. He was arrested in January while on vacation in Miami.

On Wednesday, Germany's carmakers, including VW, BMW and Daimler, agreed to upgrade 5.3 million diesel vehicles to reduce their harmful emissions as they scramble to save a technology badly tarnished by the VW test-rigging scandal.

Under the plea agreement, Schmidt is expected to serve up to seven years in prison and pay a fine of between $40,000 and $400,000 after he admitted that he plotted to mislead US regulators while violating clean air laws. He will be sentenced on December 6.

One of the executives charged, James Robert Liang, has pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and violating the Clean Air Act, and is awaiting sentencing.

Schmidt is accused of telling regulators technical problems were to blame for the difference in emissions in road and lab tests. The prosecutors of United States have charged with 8 current and former Volkswagen executives. It pleaded guilty in March to defrauding the USA government and agreed to pay $4.3 billion United States in penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.

Schmidt told Cox on Friday that VW management directed him in 2015 not to discuss the software.

Some 11 million cars worldwide were equipped with the software, including more than 105,000 sold in Canada. Meeting U.S. emissions standards were part of the company's "clean diesel" marketing strategy.

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