Volkswagen AG last week admitted it had cheated US diesel emissions tests through the use of software and then moved to say around 11 million vehicles around the world were equipped with the so-called “defeat” device.
On Tuesday Hungarian Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said during an interview on private broadcaster TV2 that around two million of the rigged diesel engines involved in the VW emissions scandal – aka “dieselgate” – were produced in the country at the Audi plant in western Hungary. The official added the government was now talking to Audi as well as German competitor Daimler – owner of the Mercedes-Benz luxury brand – also an owner of a large production facility in the country, to analyze the potential fallout on the local economy. “I am sure that this will affect Hungarian car manufacturing and the local car industry, but I hope the fallout will be smaller than what the disaster scenarios foreshadow,” Varga added. The minister earlier predicted the Hungarian economy could surge 0.3 to 0.6 percent slower if the European car market sees loosing sales from the scandal.
The official also excluded – for the time being – any move to order a sales cease of VW cars, as Switzerland did following the admission it had modified the cars to falsely emit less pollution during tests conducted by US regulators on diesel powered cars. Audi’s Gyor factory is one of the main suppliers for the entire VW Group – it produced 1.97 million engines and 135,232 autos in 2014. Daimler also has a Mercedes production facility in Kecskemet in central Hungary and can produced up to 150,000 vehicles each year.