Thu, Nov 05, 2015 - Page 15 News List

VW emissions scandal widens

DEFEAT DEVICES:An internal probe found that 800,000 more cars might be affected — including the first gasoline engines — which could cost the company US$2.2 billion

AFP, FRANKFURT, Germany

Volkswagen AG (VW) on Tuesday said an internal probe had found that 800,000 more vehicles showed “inconsistencies” on carbon emissions, including the first gasoline engines, as the auto giant sank deeper into a massive pollution-cheating scandal.

The company said initial estimates suggested the latest revelation could cost it 2 billion euros (US$2.2 billion), but “a reliable assessment of the scale of these irregularities is not yet possible.”

Separately, Porsche SE, the investment company which owns 32.4 percent of VW’s capital, said Tuesday’s revelations could have a “negative impact” on its own results, although it maintained its projections for this year.

Porsche’s North American subsidiary said it was suspending sales of its Cayenne diesel vehicles until further notice, but added that customers could continue to operate their crossover cars.

Among the engines affected are 1.4, 1.6 and 2-liter motors of VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles, a VW spokesman said, adding that these cars had been found to be releasing more greenhouse gas emissions than previous tests had shown.

At least one gasoline engine is concerned, the company said. Up to now only its diesel engines had been concerned.

Volkswagen admitted in September that it had fitted 11 million of its diesel vehicles with devices designed to cheat official pollution tests, revelations that have sparked global outrage and investigations across the world.

The so-called defeat devices turn on pollution controls when cars are undergoing tests and off when they are back on the road, allowing them to spew out harmful levels of nitrogen oxide.

The latest issue opens up another front in the scandal engulfing the company as it relates to a different type of engine and emissions. It comes a day after US authorities accused the carmaker of also fitting the nitrogen oxide defeat devices on various six-cylinder 3-liter diesel VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audis — charges VW adamantly denied.

“I have pledged from the start that we will stop at nothing in clarifying the circumstances,” chief executive Matthias Mueller said in a statement.

“We will stop at nothing. It is a painful process but we have no choice,” he said.

“The Volkswagen executive board regrets the facts established,” he said of the internal probe that uncovered carbon emission irregularities, adding that the company would ensure that the correct emissions level are indicated following consultations with the authorities.”

Mueller did not address the latest US allegations on Tuesday, as shares in Volkswagen fell 1.5 percent on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Volkswagen’s finances have already been hurt.

Last week, the company booked its first quarterly loss in more than 15 years as it set aside 6.7 billion euros (US$7.4 billion) to cover the initial costs of the scandal.

VW’s sales in the US have also been affected, as they stalled last month, while other major US automakers enjoyed double-digit gains in what was their best month since 2001.

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