WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate Finance Committee said Wednesday it is probing whether Volkswagen used its defeat devices to unfairly gain tax credits on diesel cars sold in the United States.
The committee said VW may have used the devices, which made the cars appear to pollute less than they do, to certify them for tax incentives to buyers of fuel-efficient vehicles of $1,300 each.
Altogether, buyers and VW may have benefited from more than $50 million in these subsidies, under the 2005 Alternative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit, in its 2009 and 2010 models, the committee said.
That would have helped the company increase sales, they said.
"This activity raises questions of whether Volkswagen made false representations to the U.S. government in its certification for federal tax subsidies," said Committee chairman Orrin Hatch and ranking member Ron Wyden in a letter sent to Volkswagen on Tuesday.
The letter requested all documents and communications related to its efforts to qualify its Jetta, Golf and Audi diesel cars for the tax credits between 2007 and 2011.
The senators gave the company, mired in scandal over using software to beat emissions tests covering 11 million cars in the United States and Europe, until the end of October to supply the documents.
The company already faces potential fines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency amounting to $18 billion for the admitted deception.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015