Volkswagen, one of Germany's leading brands, has been left reeling after admitting to cheating U.S. vehicles emissions tests of its diesel-powered vehicles. It says 11 million of its cars around the world could be affected.
Here are some of the winners and losers of the biggest scandal to hit the 78-year-old auto firm.
The company, once the shining example of Germany's economic prowess, is feeling the pain on many fronts:
Financial: It will set aside $7.3 billion in its third-quarter accounts to help cover the costs of the scandal. Fines are expected to add up to $18 billion, while almost $17 billion was wiped off VW's share price on Monday alone. Shares were up on Thursday but are still down about 24 percent from where they traded on last week before the scandal broke.
Personal: Martin Winterkorn stepped down on Wednesday as CEO, saying the firm needed a "fresh start." The company is expected to announce a successor on Friday – along with the names of those responsible for the scandal.
Brand damage: Having made some of Europe's most popular cars, the Volkswagen brand is now under fire. "This is a sad tumble for the company that was named one of the top global brands in 2014," Marianne Griebler, a marketing communications consultant, wrote on LinkedIn this week. "It's not enough to tell a good story. You have to make it real for your customers. And that's why Volkswagen hasn't just put a few dings in their brand; they may have totaled it."
The Volkswagen Golf was Germany's favorite car last year, measured by new passenger vehicle registrations. Volkswagen overtook Toyota as the world's biggest car maker by sales in the first half of the year, according to data from the car firms.
German auto sector
German automakers have been dragged lower with Volkswagen amid concerns that the sector as a whole may have been involved in manipulating emissions testing. BMW shares closed over 4 percent lower on Friday following reports in a German newspaper earlier in the week that the car maker's diesel engines were "significantly" exceeding regulatory limits. In a statement, BMW said the carmaker did not "manipulate or rig any emissions tests."
Volkswagen suppliers are also in focus. German auto component company Bosch said on Tuesday it had delivered components to the company that are at the center of the emissions tests probe. It said that responsibility for the application of components lies with Volkswagen.
Germany Inc, which has built a reputation on trust, efficiency and reliability, is expected to be damaged by the revelations. In an editorial on Monday, German newspaper Handelsblatt dubbed the scandal a "catastrophe" for the entire German motor industry.
It weathered a Greek debt crisis and is proving robust in the face of slowing growth from China, but Germany's economy – the biggest in Europe - now faces a new risk from Volkswagen fallout.
Volkswagen is Germany's biggest car maker. It's also one of Germany's biggest employers, with more than 270,000 workers employed in the country.
"While the German economy defied Greece, the euro crisis and the Chinese slowdown, it could now be facing the biggest downside risk in a long while," ING Chief Economist Carsten Brzeski said in a note Wednesday. "The irony of all of this is that the threat could now come from the inside, rather than from the outside."
Concerns that consumers will move away from diesel-powered cars has hit platinum, which is used in diesel vehicles to clean up emissions from exhausts.
Platinum prices on Wednesday slumped to a six-and-a-half year low of $924.50 an ounce and have shed about 5 percent of their value in the past four sessions, according to Reuters data.
Analysts say regulators will now be under greater pressure to ensure higher standards.
"The regulator knows a number of tricks that are used and hasn't cracked down on those," Philippe Houchois, an autos analyst at UBS, told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Thursday.
"VW has been on the front pages for three days running so the regulator will be under pressure. The regulators have started to change the process but they will need to do much more because right now there's no credibility in the process," he said.
Foreign competitors such as the likes of Japan's Toyota are expected to gain the most from Volkswagen's woes. While auto companies globally have suffered this week, Toyota shares have held up relatively well, falling about 1.9 percent compared with a fall of about 4 percent in Ford and 25 percent dive in Porsche shares.
Sung Yop Chung, an analyst at Daiwa Capital Markets, said South Korean car makers such as Hyundai could also benefit long term. "Volkswagen has a competitive advantage in emerging markets. If the scandal becomes more global, it could provide tailwinds for [South Korean carmakers]," he said in a note on Tuesday.
The scandal could also help drive demand for electric cars, some strategists say. "In the longer term – many people are going towards electric cars not just because they are greener but also because the technology has changed," Martyn Briggs, industry principal at Frost & Sullivan, told CNBC this week.
Elon Musk, the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Motors, told Reuters on Thursday that he sees Germany as the second most important market for the firm after the U.S. market.
Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. government body emerges from this scandal as a clear winner for discovering the devices that could detect when a diesel engine was being tested and adjust its performance to improve the results. Other countries are pushing for their own probes. South Korea for instance said on Tuesday it will look into emission levels in Volkswagen diesel cars.