Investors wiped about €25bn (£10.8bn) off the market value of Volkswagen(Ger: VOW3) in under three days after the German automotive giant was accused of cheating on US emission tests. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claimed the group installed illegal software in diesel cars that allowed them to meet pollution standards under test conditions, despite producing up to 40 times the amount of noxious emissions during normal operation. The US government has demanded Volkswagen recall over 480,000 VW and Audi vehicles, and management has warned that up to 11m vehicles worldwide may be affected. The group could face up to $18bn (£11.8bn) in fines - more than half of its gross profit in 2014 - and Volkswagen's chief executive has stepped down. Michael Horn, the group's US chief, admitted the company had "totally screwed up".
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