German carmaker Volkswagen AG said Thursday that it was investigating if a software that falsified emissions data was installed in more vehicles than previously estimated. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the company told Bloomberg that nearly 3 million cars in Europe may need hardware fixes.
The latest announcement comes after Volkswagen admitted last month that nearly 11 million vehicles globally with EA 189 diesel engines may have been equipped with the illegal software. The company is now trying to find out if cars using the newer EA 288 diesel engines also had the cheat software.
With the illegal software, also known as "defeat device," vehicles, including models like Passat, Jetta, Beetle and Golf, were able to emit 40 times the nitrogen oxide than permissible limit when on the road. The "defeat device," however, would falsify the levels when it detected an emissions test. Nitrogen Oxide, a pollutant, can cause several lung ailments, the New York Times reported.
While a Volkswagen spokesman did not give an exact figure on the number of cars that could be affected by the latest announcement, the Times report said that the EA 288 has been installed in models like the Golf, which could take the number of affected cars to millions. However, the spokesman added that the latest versions of the engine don’t have the illegal software and are compliant with European diesel emissions standards.
Another spokesman for the company said, according to Bloomberg, that the cars with the 1.6-liter engines will need technical repairs. The EA 288 and EA 189 models both come with a 1.6-liter diesel engine. Last week, the company announced a recall of 8.5 million cars across Europe, adding that the fixes could drag on till 2017. The company has so far estimated the fallout of the emissions scandal at over 6.5 billion euros ($7.4 billion), which has already been set aside.
Moody’s Investors Service said, according Bloomberg, that the impact of the scandal, which led to the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn last month, could affect the company till 2017.