Concerns that VW scandal may reduce investment in Portugal

While many people starting yawning the minute they hear the words “emissions scandal”, the truth is that it could have far reaching implications for Portugal.

Economy minister Pires de Lima has already admitted that we have as many as 117,000 cars nationally that need to be recalled “over the next year” to replace the “fraudulent” software – but his concern is much more over what the issue will do to Volkswagen’s future expansion plans.

The German car giant faces massive fines over the emissions cheating, and has already announced cuts of around a billion euros in investment.

Will these cuts affect plans for its Autoeuropa car plant in Palmela?

According to national tabloid Correio da Manhã, VW was planning a €700 million investment in the plant that produces 468 cars per day – none of them, it has to be said, involving the bandit EA189 engines at the heart of the scandal.

“The feeling in Atuoeuropa is one of concern”, the paper reports – quoting a source as saying: “We are a drop in the ocean for Volkswagen, and no-one has guaranteed that the investment will not be halted”.

It was one of those annoying double-negatives that leave many people wondering what it all means, but Pires de Lima is trying to find out.

CM says he will be in touch with VW’s non-executive president “by telephone”.

When, and what the answer will be, is what is keeping everyone guessing.

Meantime, VW is getting it in the neck from German authorities which have vetoed a plan to start repairing cars in 2016.

VW has been told it must recall 2.4 of the 2.8 million vehicles “straight away”, says CM, and present a calendar of repair schedules for the remaining 400,000 affected cars.

On a global scale, 11 million vehicles are believed to have been fitted with the rogue software, involving Seat, Audi and Skoda in what has been dubbed the “Libor moment” of the automobile industry.

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