(CNNMoney) – Volkswagen shares collapsed 20% on Monday, losing 16,000 million euros ($ 18,000 million) of the value of the company, after it was determined that it was cheating the US regulators.
Federal and state regulators said Friday that the German company cheated on environmental standards by scheduling some diesel cars to turn on emission control when testing was done.
Volkswagen, which was recently crowned as the best car manufacturer in the world in terms of sales, also owns the Audi and Porsche brands.
The software was installed in almost 500,000 cars that circulate on US roads, including some of its luxury car brand, Audi.
Regulators have ordered Volkswagen to remove the vehicles. The company said it was stopping sales of some cars in the United States.
Volkswagen shares reached their lowest level in almost three years and has reduced their participation in other German car manufacturers such as Daimler (DDAIY) and BMW (BAMXY).
Among the VW models that were affected are the Jetta, Beetle and Golf from 2009 to 2015, the Passat from 2014 to 2015, as well as the Audi A3, from the 2009 to 2015 model. The owners of the “CleanDiesel” cars have presented a class action suit against Volkswagen.
Martin Winterkorn, executive director of Volkswagen, apologized to customers on Sunday for destroying their trust.
Volkswagen has been well known for having reliable engineering and quality, but that will most likely be affected by the scandal. The automaker could also face fines of billions of dollars in relation to that matter.