Volkswagen AG halted the sale of some of its car models in Switzerland Friday, as the fallout over its massive emissions scandal continued to unfold.
Swiss authorities announced that they had banned the sale of over 180,000 diesel vehicles in the country that share their make with Volkswagen (VW) cars that were found to deliberately falsify their pollutant emissions.
Authorities also told Reuters that they planned to withdraw approval of all affected models, which include Volkswagen cars as well as those from Audi, Seat, and Skoda, that have been linked to the scandal.
Zurich also announced the creation of a task force to investigate the issue, joining other countries that are seeking to establish the scope of the scandal.
The scandal surrounding the use of the so-called “defeat devices” broke last Friday, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it had found evidence of the cheating.
VW was found to have installed software on several of its diesel vehicles which would deliberately lower the vehicle’s pollutant output when it detected an emissions test being performed. When the car was being driven, it would covertly disable these pollution controls. U.S. officials said that pollutant emissions levels from the affected vehicles were found to be up to 40 times the regulatory limit, and VW has admitted that it equipped about 11 million cars worldwide with the software.
The news from Switzerland came shortly after the appointment of new VW CEO Matthias Mueller. Mueller, the former head of Porsche, replaced former head Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down Wednesday. Winterkorn denied any knowledge of wrongdoing at VW.
After his appointment, Mueller stressed that the top goal for the company was to restore the company’s trust.
"My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group - by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation," he said in a statement.
The company is facing lawsuits from angry customers, and U.S. authorities have said that it could face up to $18 billion in fines in the U.S. alone. Investigations have also been launched in other countries, including Germany, South Korea and India.
Volkswagen shares plummeted this week with the stock losing over 30 percent of its value since Monday.