98,000 petrol cars hit in VW’s CO2 emissions scandal: minister

Around 98,000 petrol cars count among the 800,000 Volkswagen vehicles found to show irregularities on their carbon emission levels, Germany’s Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said today.

“Among the affected vehicles, 98,000 are petrol cars,” Dobrindt told parliament.

This comes a day after VW said an internal probe had found some of its vehicles were releasing more greenhouse gas CO2 than previous tests had shown.

“The result (of the internal probe) is itself unacceptable,” he said.

Volkswagen was forced to launch an investigation after it admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars had been fitted with defeat devices to cheat official pollution tests on nitrogen oxide emissions.

But the probe ended up showing that the emissions scam is broader than thought – covering not only nitrogen oxide emissions but also carbon emissions, and affecting not just diesel but also petrol engines.

Investors wiped another €3 billion off Volkswagen’s market value today after the latest relevations.

This latest news added a new dimension to a crisis that had previously focused on environmental damage.

They are also the first to threaten to make a serious dent in VW’s car sales since the scandal erupted, analysts said.

The new relevations could potentially deter cost-conscious consumers who have so far taken VW’s manipulation of smog-causing emission tests in their stride.

The effects of the scandal have so far been barely reflected in VW sales figures – although it was the only German carmaker to report a decline in car registrations in Germany in October.

The German carmaker also revealed yesterday that carbon-dioxide emissions had been understated – leading it to underestimate the fuel consumption – and added €2 billion to its expected costs of the scandal.

The affair erupted in September when US authorities exposed VW’s use of “defeat devices” to cheat tests for emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxide. VW admitted such software was installed in up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.

The company’s latest admission came after US environmental regulators said the car maker had failed to inform it that similar devices were installed on larger 3 litre engines used in luxury sport utility vehicles from Porsche and Audi.

VW has denied this, but said yesterday it would immediately start talking to “responsible authorities” about what to do about the latest findings on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

“From the very start I have pushed hard for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events,” Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Mueller said. “We will stop at nothing and nobody. This is a painful process but it is our only alternative.”

The biggest business crisis in VW’s 78-year history has wiped almost €24 billion – nearly a third – off the firm’s stock market value, forced out long-time CEO Martin Winterkorn and rocked the auto industry, an important employer and source of export income in Germany.

The latest findings on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions – areas which US watchdogs have yet to address – were disclosed as VW continues a broad review of its handling of all pollution-related issues.

Article by rte.ie