Richard Milne:

VW’s sprawling factory employs about 72,000 in a city with just 120,000 inhabitants. Over an area of more than 6 sq km — three times the size of the principality of Monaco — the plant churns out 840,000 cars a year, including the VW Golf, Tiguan and Touran models.

Among workers, the scandal dominates rather like the chimney stacks of the factory’s power station tower over Wolfsburg.

“It was shock. Then anger. How could they be so stupid?” says one worker, describing his emotions on hearing last month that VW had admitted to large scale cheating in tests on its diesel vehicles for harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides.

Another worker says: “Everyone is worried. Will we get our bonus still? Will there be job cuts? There is so much uncertainty.”