FRANKFURT, Germany — Volkswagen shares took a renewed battering Wednesday as evidence emerged that the massive pollution cheating scandal engulfing the company might also involve gas engines, not just diesel engines.
VW’s shares were once again the biggest losers on the Frankfurt stock exchange, slumping more than 10% in early trade. The company has lost 37% in market capitalization since September when the initial cheating revelations broke.
Until now, the emissions-cheating scandal had centered on so-called defeat devices, sophisticated software fitted into diesel engines to skew the results of tests for nitrogen oxide emissions. But late Tuesday, the auto giant said that an internal probe had uncovered “inconsistencies” on carbon emissions, as well. And these might not only affect diesel engines, but the first gas engines, too.
According to a statement, initial estimates suggested the latest revelation could cost VW two billion euros ($2.17 billion). But “a reliable assessment of the scale of these irregularities is not yet possible.”
Volkswagen has found itself at the center of a worldwide storm and the object of both regulatory and criminal investigations in a range of countries since mid-September when it admitted to fitting 11 million of its diesel vehicles with defeat devices.
Initially, the allegations involved smaller 1.6 and 2.0-liter diesel engines. But on Wednesday, the US accused the carmaker of fitting the devices on its larger 3.0 liter diesel vehicles, as well, charges VW adamantly denied.
The U.S. authorities said VW’s high-end brands, Audi and Porsche, were also implicated. With the latest announcement, it appears VW could have been cheating on its carbon emissions, too.
A VW spokesman said that the 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0 liter motors of VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles are affected, adding that these cars had been found to be releasing more of greenhouse gas CO2 than previous tests had shown.
Porsche Halts North American Cayenne Diesel Sales
The North American subsidiary of Porsche said Tuesday it would discontinue sales of model year 2014 through 2016 Cayenne diesel vehicles.
Porsche said its decision came after the Environmental Protection Agency accused Volkswagen on Monday of fitting illegal “defeat devices” not only on its smaller engines, but also into various six-cylinder 3.0 liter diesel VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audis.
“Porsche Cars North America, Inc. today decided, in view of the unexpected US EPA notice received yesterday, to voluntarily discontinue sales of model year 2014 through 2016 Porsche Cayenne Diesel vehicles until further notice,” the company said in a statement. “We are working intensively to resolve this matter as soon as possible. Customers may continue to operate their vehicles normally.”
Porsche did not say whether software had been installed on the cars to cheat pollution tests. The company had denied also the allegations, insisting that “all of our information was that the Porsche Cayenne Diesel is fully compliant.”
India to Question Volkswagen Over Local Emission Tests
NEW DELHI – India’s government will demand answers from Volkswagen after major discrepancies were found in emission tests on its cars, becoming the latest country drawn into the pollution cheating scandal.
The automaker will be formally asked to explain results of tests carried out on three VW models by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), a government official said.
“ARAI has found significant variation in emission levels in on-road vehicles of three Volkswagen models compared to laboratory measurements,” Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary of the heavy industries ministry, told the Press Trust of India news agency. Sharma said his ministry will issue the notice to the company over its concerns for diesel models Jetta, Audi A4 and Vento.
An ARAI official told AFP it ran tests on all models made and sold in India. “We had been tasked to do testing of cars in September,” the official said. “We did rigorous tests and the report is with the government.”
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015