Germany's VW: New C02 problems with 800,000 vehicles

Germany's VW: New C02 problems with 800,000 vehicles
In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, the logo of Volkswagen at a car is photographed during the Car Show in Frankfurt, Germany. Shares in automaker Volkswagen are sliding after U.S. environmental officials said the company equipped more models than previously thought with software that let the cars cheat on diesel emissions tests. The company's ordinary shares fell 3.37 percent in midday trading Tuesday Nov.3, 2015. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

Germany's Volkswagen, already reeling from the fallout of cheating on U.S. emissions tests for nitrogen oxide, said Tuesday that an internal investigation has revealed "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from 800,000 of its vehicles—a development it said could cost the company another 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

The investigation was undertaken by the company after the revelations that many of its vehicles had software that allowed them to deceive U.S. nitrogen oxide tests. CEO Matthias Mueller promised Tuesday that Volkswagen "will relentlessly and completely clarify what has happened."

"It is a painful process, but for us there is no alternative," said Mueller, who took over after CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in September because of the emissions-rigging scandal. "For us, only one thing counts, and that is the truth."

The news is the latest in a string of problems identified with Volkswagen emissions, which have caused share prices to plummet.

In September, the company admitted it had installed software designed to defeat tests for nitrogen oxide emissions for four-cylinder diesel engines on 11 million cars worldwide, including almost 500,000 in the U.S. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of recalling those vehicles—and analysts expect the emissions scandal to cost the company much more than that.

That scandal had already widened this week, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen had installed software on thousands of Audi, Porsche and VW cars with six-cylinder diesel engines that allowed them to emit fewer pollutants during tests than in real-world driving. Volkswagen has denied the charge, but faces the prospect of more fines and lost sales.

Germany's VW: New C02 problems with 800,000 vehicles
In this Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, the grille of a Volkswagen car for sale is decorated with the iconic company symbol in Boulder, Colo. Germany's Volkswagen, already reeling from news that it had cheated on U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions, said Tuesday, Nov. 3, that an internal investigation had revealed "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from 800,000 vehicles that could cost the company another 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The revelation comes after VW's admission in September that it rigged emissions tests for four-cylinder diesel engines on 11 million cars worldwide, including almost 500,000 in the U.S. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of recalling those vehicles. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

It was not immediately clear whether the 800,000 vehicles announced Tuesday with the newly discovered carbon dioxide emission problems were among those already affected. Volkswagen did not identify any models by name.

It did say the 800,000 were "predominantly vehicles with diesel engines," raising the possibility for the first time that some Volkswagens with gasoline-powered motors may also have emissions problems.

A VW spokesman did not immediately return a phone call seeking clarification.

Volkswagen's board of directors said in a separate statement that they learned of the development "with dismay and concern."

"The board of directors and the committee specially established to investigate will meet soon to discuss further measures and consequences," the board said.

Germany's VW: New C02 problems with 800,000 vehicles
In this Oct. 13, 2015 file photo, a Volkswagen Touareg diesel is tested in the Environmental Protection Agency's cold temperature test facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. The U.S. government says Volkswagen cheated a second time on emissions tests, programming about 10,000 cars with larger diesel engines, including the 2014 Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8 and Q5, to emit fewer pollutants during testing than in real-world driving conditions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

Despite the new issue, the company assured customers that the safety of the vehicles in question "is in no way compromised."

It said Volkswagen "will endeavor to clarify the further course of action as quickly as possible and ensure the correct CO2 classification for the vehicles affected" with the responsible authorities.

In talks with the authorities—whom Volkswagen did not identify—the company said it hoped to come up with a "reliable assessment of the legal, and the subsequent economic consequences, of this not yet fully explained issue."

The news broke after Germany's DAX was closed for the day, but Volkswagen shares ended down 1.51 percent to 111 euros.


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