According to a report coming from a German newspaper, Volkswagen has now also acknowledged it had 8 million vehicles in the European Union with the illegal software built in, thus being capable of duping diesel emissions tests just like in the United States.
Daily Handelsblatt reported in its Tuesday edition it saw a letter the world’s largest automaker by sales had sent to members of the German parliament – dated October 2 – and signed by both the former government spokesman and current VW chief lobbyist Thomas Steg. The officials pointed out the rigged diesel-powered models were equipped with 1.2, 1.6 and 2.0 liter engines. The authors also apologized “for the wrongdoing of a few individuals” and said they would fully clarify the situation. Volkswagen was accused on September 18 by the US Environmental Protection Agency it had equipped its diesel-powered models with a so-called “defeat” device in the US to cheat on diesel emissions tests. The company later admitted it had rigged the US models and also around 11 million autos worldwide were equipped with the illegal software.
The company is now under intense regulatory scrutiny by authorities around the world and will also have to cope with massive fines and the myriad of lawsuits by consumers and investors. The pressure is massive from the biggest scandal in the company’s 78-year history and so far it has lost around a third of its market value in the proceedings. The carmaker has so far announced it would refit 11 million autos worldwide, with around half a million in the US and some 2.8 million in Germany.