The start of the fraud process in Braunschweig is a milestone in the legal processing of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.

We remember: Europe's largest car company had sold more than 9 million vehicles to customers all over the world whose engines contained an illegal automatic switch-off.

On the test bench, they fell below the limit values, and in road traffic they then blew significantly more nitrogen oxide into the air.

American environmental agencies uncovered the fraud in 2015.

American customers were generously compensated, in this country many victims are still fighting for their compensation.

At that time, Martin Winterkorn, as head of the VW Group, had overall responsibility. In the ears of the injured party it must sound like sheer mockery that the man who had built up an image as a pedantic technology fan did not want to have known about diesel fraud. The fact that the trial against the 74-year-old was severed at short notice for health reasons confirms many of those affected in their suspicion that “those up there” will get away with it in the end.

In Braunschweig, an era is also being worked on in which the value framework of many car managers was in imbalance.

It is true that Daimler has just received confirmation from the Federal Court of Justice that its “thermal window” cannot be compared with the VW automatic switch-off.

But not everything that is legal is known to be legitimate.

At that time, the industry acted with the knowledge of politics in legal and moral gray areas, only looking at its own profit.

Today people are purified, and a strong auto industry will continue to be indispensable for securing growth and prosperity in Germany - in spite of all anti-car opponents.

But it is just as clear that Volkswagen & Co. are on probation with customers.

A fraud like the diesel scandal must not be repeated.

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