The US Department of Justice is planning to apply the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, FIRREA, which has been repeatedly used against banks after 2008 crisis.
The Act will be used to investigate violations not directly related to the financial industry for the first time in history of the country's banking legislation.
Using the law this way "is pushing the legal theory to its outermost limits, against a defendant that is not particularly sympathetic,'' Columbia University's professor John Coffee told the Wall Street Journal.
According to Spiegel Online, the cars were originally presented as environmentally friendly and lost much of their value after the scandal.
The new probe will among others look at possible violations of tax laws by the corporation. The investigation comes after German prosecutors expanded the list of suspects up to 17 people.