Volkswagen AG, the largest carmaker in Europe and the biggest automaker in the world by sales after the first six months of the year has found itself entrenched in a massive scandal concerning rigged emissions testing procedures since last month.
The US Environmental Protection Agency last month accused the German company of cheating on diesel emissions tests via the use of a so-called “defeat” device that essentially turned all emissions control systems off while in real-life driving conditions and on if it detected the laboratory testing procedures. The company admitted to the use of the illegal software in the US and also said it had fitted 11 million vehicles sold worldwide with the device. That sparked global scrutiny from national regulators and Germany has been claiming the automaker had duped emissions tests in Europe as well.
Now German public prosecutors announced they searched the Volkswagen offices at its headquarters in Wolfsburg and other facilities on Thursday. According to the prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig near Wolfsburg, they were looking for documents and data storage pertaining to the VW manipulation of diesel tests. The raid was performed by three prosecutors assisted by the German state of Lower Saxony’s office of criminal investigation.
Volkswagen also announced it collaborated with the authorities and delivered a “comprehensive” range of documents to the public prosecutors, in a bid to show its support of the prosecution’s investigation of the way the manipulation was carried as well as finding the persons responsible for the cheat.