VW scandal widens with new CO2 revelations

vw_logo_black.jpg [Thomas Hawk/Flickr]

Germany’s Volkswagen said Tuesday (3 November) an internal probe had found that 800,000 more vehicles showed “inconsistencies” on carbon dioxide emissions, including the first petrol engines.

Among the engines affected are 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0 litre motors of VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles, said a VW spokesman, adding that these cars had been found to be releasing more of greenhouse gas CO2 than previous tests had shown.

At least one petrol engine is concerned, the company said.

The latest revelations open up another front in the scandal engulfing the company as it relates to a different type of engine and emissions. Up to now, only NOx emissions from diesel engines were concerned.

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

Separately, Porsche SE, the investment company which owns 32.4% of VW’s capital, said Tuesday’s revelations could have a “negative impact” on its own results, although it maintained its projections for 2015.

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

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 globe.

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.

‘Stop at nothing’

“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 CO2 irregularities, adding that the company “will ensure that the correct emissions level are indicated following consultations with the authorities.”

In the United States, authorities late Monday accused VW of fitting illegal “defeat devices” not only on its smaller engines, but also into various six-cylinder 3.0 litre diesel VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audis.

The inclusion of Porsche vehicles among those alleged to contain defeat devices could trip up Mueller, who was drafted in from the luxury sports car unit to replace Martin Winterkorn, who resigned at the height of the scandal.

>> Read: US says VW also violated emission rules in larger engines

Financial hit

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

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

The holding company Porsche SE is controlled by the Piech and Porsche families who inherited the Volkswagen empire built by Ferdinand Porsche.

In its statement, it maintained its projection of post-tax profits for 2015 of between 0.8 and 1.8 billion euros.

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