Volkswagen hadn’t posted a quarterly loss since the turn of the millennium, and then the extent of this year’s scandal hit home. The automaker’s share price has taken a huge hit of roughly a third since news that it employed underhanded tactics to cheat emissions testing processes have come to light. An estimated 11 million vehicles had been fitted with the device discovered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A fund of almost £5bn has been earmarked to handle the recall costs but more may be necessary as this amount doesn’t include any potential fines. With the environmental regulator able to levy fines of more than £20,000 per vehicle that doesn’t meet its emissions standards, things could get stickier still. A total loss of £18bn could be the consequence of the attempted deception. Reputational damage, on the other hand, is harder to measure, but the sheer size of the firm means it will only be a matter of time before it’s back on the road to profitability again.

We don’t have to cast our minds too far back to remember the last great automaker scandal. Just last year, General Motors was forced to recall a staggering 30 million of its vehicles owing to a faulty ignition switch which had been kept quiet for more than 10 years. More than 120 deaths were attributed to the sub-standard switches, for which GM paid compensation, along with a further $900 million in related fines.

On the date that the first recall was announced - 7th February 2014 - GM’s share price fell from a December high of almost $41 to $35.95. The slump steadily continued, reaching a nadir in September of this year of $28.88 per share, a decline of almost a third- exactly the same as VW’s recent, though much more rapid, decline. Since then, GM has been back on track and shares are now at a much healthier $36. It has taken 21 months for the Detroit-based company to partially recover its losses, and it is still to revisit its $41 high.

The full extent of VW’s scandal now seems to be public knowledge, and resignations from the C-suite have helped the firm to apportion blame, apologise and forge ahead with repairing its reputation. Thankfully in VW’s case there have been no fatalities as a result of the cover up, though the environment will naturally have suffered somewhat as a result.

Will it take almost two years for Volkswagen to recover in line with major rival General Motors? If this month’s performance is anything to go by, we could see similar results. After hitting a low of $92.36 at the beginning of October, shares have tentatively been creeping back up and are now at $124.80. Though there is still a long way to go for the German auto giant; March’s high of $255 now seems like a mountain to climb, but could prove tempting for long-term traders. Quite how long-term, though, remains to be seen.