Volkswagen, Audi say 90,000 Australia vehicles had emissions cheating software

Wed Oct 7, 2015 6:11am EDT
 
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By Lincoln Feast

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The number of vehicles sold in Australia fitted with devices designed to mask the level of emissions has risen to more than 90,000 from 77,000, to include the Audi brand, widening a global scandal that engulfed German automaker Volkswagen.

The Australian unit of Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) said it had set up a website for customers to see if their vehicles, including almost 55,000 Volkswagen branded passenger cars, 5,000 Skodas and more than 17,000 Volkswagen commercial vehicles, had the affected EA 189 diesel engines.

A spokeswoman for Audi Australia confirmed a further 14,000 Audis had also been fitted with the device.

The biggest business crisis in Volkswagen's 78-year history has wiped more than a third off its share price, forced out its longtime chief executive and sent shockwaves through both the global car industry and the German establishment.

"Volkswagen Group Australia takes this issue extremely seriously and is continuing to gather all the facts from our head office to support any rectification plans in Australia," Managing Director John White said in a statement.

"We understand the disappointment and frustration felt by our customers, dealers and partners in Australia and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are doing everything possible to fix the problem and will be making further announcements," White added.

Australian regulators have launched an enquiry to determine whether consumers have been misled. They say Volkswagen faces legal action and millions of dollars in fines if found to have breached consumer laws.

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently investigating whether Volkswagen and Audi exposed consumers to false, misleading or deceptive representations," said the Minister for Territories, Local Government and Major Projects, Paul Fletcher.   Continued...

 
A Volkswagen logo adorns a car outside a dealership for the German automaker located in the Sydney suburb of Artarmon, Australia, October 3, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray