VW looking at whether more vehicles have cheat software

Thu Oct 22, 2015 1:11pm EDT
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By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) is looking into whether more vehicles contain software capable of cheating diesel emissions tests, it said on Thursday, potentially increasing the cost and disruption of a scandal that has rocked Europe's biggest carmaker.

The German company said it was examining older versions of its latest EA 288 diesel engines to see if they contained software that allowed vehicles to know when they were being tested and temporarily reduce toxic emissions to pass tests.

However, it later added the two main versions of the engine -- the Euro 5 and Euro 6 -- did not include the banned software, reducing the chances of a big increase in the number of affected vehicles.

In neither of its statements did Volkswagen say which variants of the EA 288 engine it was examining, nor how many vehicles might be affected. Spokespeople were not immediately available to comment.

Almost five weeks after it admitted to rigging U.S. diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen is struggling to get to the bottom of a scandal that has wiped about a third off its stock market value, forced out its long-time chief executive and rocked both the global car industry and the German establishment.

The more vehicles that include illegal software, the higher the costs Volkswagen could face for refitting them, as well as for potential regulatory fines and lawsuits.

The company said last month that banned software could be in up to 11 million vehicles worldwide fitted with its older EA 189 diesel engine.

U.S. regulators have said they are also investigating Volkswagen's "generation 3" vehicles in the United States, which contain the latest EA 288 diesel engine.   Continued...

A Volkswagen logo stands on the roof of the company's headquaters in Wolfsburg, Germany October 7, 2015.