Europe's biggest automaker admitted to U.S. regulators on September. 3 it had used illegal software to disguise levels of toxic emissions, but it was not until Sept. 18 that the matter became public.

The delay has led several shareholders to lodge lawsuits at the German regional court in Brunswick, claiming Volkswagen (VW) was too slow to inform them of its cheating.
In a 113-page report submitted to the court on Feb. 29, law firm Goehmann said the delay was to allow for talks aimed at reaching a settlement with U.S. regulators, and that the talks could have been jeopardised if the matter was already public.
"The Volkswagen management board had a reason to assume that a consensual solution would be possible with the authorities, that would not have led to significant economic consequences for VW," the law firm said.
"The temporary non-disclosure did not serve the purpose of covering up the breach of compliance (of U.S. rules)," the report said, adding the attempt to reduce the cost of the scandal was "not only legitimate but almost advisable."