The Latest Revelations About Volkswagen Are Awful

November 2nd 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Volkswagen Group has managed to get itself in even hotter water. This week, it was revealed that the company's deliberate manipulation of emissions controls in several VW models also extended to other cars the group manufactures, including sport utility Audi and Porsche models.

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The revelation that the company installed so-called "defeat devices" in other models follows an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that pulled the rug from a cornerstone of the company's U.S. market in September—that its diesel cars were highly fuel efficient. In fact, that investigation revealed that the devices installed in cars hid from emissions tests pollution levels up to 40 times the EPA standard.

The new allegations call into question the sincerity of VW Group's response to the original findings.

"VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans," said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "All companies should be playing by the same rules."

The California Air Resources Board, which was involved in the investigation, called on the company to address the new issues. "This is a very serious public health matter," said Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the board.

According to the EPA, the additional models include the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and 2016 models of the Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5. Pollution levels in the models are alleged to exceed EPA standards by up to nine times.

Volkswagen key on a table and paper

As USA Today reports, VW's new CEO Matthias Mueller said just five days ago that he would leave "no stone unturned to find out what exactly happened and to ensure nothing like this happens again." USA Today notes that the scandal has already lead to a U.S. Department of Justice probe, multitudes of consumer litigation, and speculation about VW cars worldwide.

More than 480,000 diesel cars have already been identified in the U.S., emitting pollutants between 10 and 40 times as much as EPA allows.

In September, then-VW CEO Martin Winterkorn wrote in an apology:

"I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case."

The company could liable for fines up to $18 billion with the maximum per car penalties enforced, Bloomberg reports, though the total cost of the scandal will likely be many times higher.

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