Volkswagen luxury cars in Europe fitted with devices that U.S. says cheated tests

Thu Nov 5, 2015 3:42pm EST
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By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) luxury diesel cars in Europe are fitted with the same software that American regulators say was used to cheat emissions tests in the United States, the carmaker said on Thursday.

U.S. regulators said on Monday that about 10,000 VW cars in the United States - including some Audi and Porsche models - were equipped with auxiliary emission control devices (AECD) that masked the fact that the cars could emit up to nine times the allowed amount of smog-causing nitrogen oxide.

They said the firm had failed to inform them such devices was fitted in large 3.0 liter engines used in luxury sport utility vehicles. This widened the VW scandal, which had previously focused mainly on smaller-engined mass-market cars.

Volkswagen, which has denied the AECD software altered emission levels "in a forbidden way", told Reuters on Thursday that the same devices were installed in cars in Europe - its biggest market, accounting for around 40 percent of group sales.

It declined to say how many cars in Europe were equipped with the software, in response to emailed questions, but did not rule out the U.S. total could be higher than 10,000. Analysts at Barclays said the European number could be 20 times larger than in the United States.

The accusations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced Porsche's North American division to stop sales of diesel-powered Cayenne SUVs from model years 2014 to 2016 until further notice and Audi to halt U.S. deliveries of affected A6, A7, A8 and Q5 models.

In Europe, Volkswagen already faces a recall of 8.5 million cars with smaller diesel engines after it admitted to installing different, so-called "defeat devices" to cheat emissions tests. The scandal has wiped nearly a third - or almost 24 billion euros - off its market value.

But the German firm, Europe's biggest carmaker, said the AECD system did not violate regulations in Europe or the United States.   Continued...

A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett