German minister: VW manipulated emissions in Europe too

Authorities to determine which Volkswagen 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines were affected in European market.

Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter
The US Department of Justice has also launched a criminal inquiry [Julian Stratenschulte/EPA]

Emissions manipulations by Volkswagen also took place in Europe, not just in the United States, Germany’s transport minister says.

Alexander Dobrindt said on Thursday that authorities would continue working with the German automotive manufacturer to determine what cars exactly were involved, but it was not clear how many of the 11 million were in Europe.

“We have been informed that also in Europe, vehicles with 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel engines are affected by the manipulations that are being talked about,” Dobrindt said. 

Earlier in the week, Donbrindt set up a commission of inquiry to look into the scandal. 

Meanwhile, VW searched for a new chief to steer the company out of the storm.

Martin Winterkorn, VW chief executive, resigned on Wednesday over the scandal, which has sparked a US criminal investigation and international legal action with as-yet incalculable financial costs.

The supervisory board is scheduled to meet on Friday to find a new chief executive charged with restoring the group’s reputation and handling mounting worldwide legal action over the pollution scandal.

RELATED: Can Volkswagen recover from its emissions scandal?

According to the US authorities, VW has admitted that it equipped about 482,000 cars in the United States with sophisticated software that covertly turns off pollution controls when the car is being driven.

It turns them on only when it detects that the vehicle is undergoing an emissions test.

With the so-called “defeat device” deactivated, the car can spew pollutant gases into the air, including nitrogen oxide, in amounts as much as 40 times higher than emissions standards, said the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA is conducting an investigation that could lead to fines amounting to a maximum of more than $18bn.

The US Department of Justice has also launched a criminal inquiry. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he had launched his own probe of VW and would work on it with prosecutors from other states across the US.

Private law firms are lining up to take on the German company, with a class action suit already being filed by a Seattle law firm.

Source: AFP, Reuters


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