VW shares sink to four-year low amid dieselgate revelations


Frankfurt (dpa) – Shares in embattled German carmaker Volkswagen slumped to a four-year low on Friday as legal authorities around the world stepped up their probes into the emissions testing scandal that has engulfed the company.

VW stock dropped to 92.75 euros (103.5 dollars) – the lowest level since October 2011 – in early trading on the Frankfurt Stock Market amid investors’ concerns about the scale of the affair.

The company has lost about 43 per cent of the value since the so-called dieselgate affair broke two weeks ago when revelations emerged that the carmaker had cheated on exhaust emissions tests for its diesel-powered models around the world.

France on Friday became the latest nation to launch a probe into VW.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said the country had opened a preliminary investigation into the carmaker following the revelations that it had equipped vehicles with software aimed at defeating emissions tests.

VW has said that the software might have been installed in up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Paris prosecutors are looking into charges of aggravated fraud, and the French government is weighing the possibility of withdrawing subsidies for the defect autos. The subsidies were intended to promote environmentally responsible cars.

Some 950,000 cars are estimated to be impacted by the scandal in France, and Ecology Minister Segolene Royal has slammed the carmaker over revelations and initiated an inquiry to see how extensive the impact is.