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E.P.A. Finds More VW Cheating Software, Including in a Porsche


The E.P.A. said the 2015 Porsche Cayenne was one model that had so-called defeat devices meant to cheat on emissions testing. Credit Porsche

The Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that it had discovered cheating software on more Volkswagen and Audi cars than previously disclosed and, for the first time, also found the illegal software in some of the carmaker’s high-end Porsche models.

The findings put significant new pressure on Volkswagen, which did not reveal the defeat devices to the agency, and its new chief executive, Matthias Müller, who was previously the head of Volkswagen’s Porsche division.

Mr. Müller’s predecessor, Martin Winterkorn, resigned in September after regulators in the United States disclosed that the German automaker had installed sophisticated software on some Volkswagen diesel models that reduced pollutant emissions when the cars were being tested. In day-to-day usage, the mandatory controls were turned off, providing the cars with better engine performance but emitting as much as 40 times the legal limits of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant linked to lung ailments.

The new revelations escalate the potential damage to Volkswagen’s finances and reputation. Audi and Porsche are the source of most of the company’s earnings, because profit margins tend to be much higher on luxury cars. In contrast to Volkswagen brand cars, which have struggled in the United States, Audi and Porsche are success stories in America. The United States is Porsche’s biggest single market.

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Volkswagen has admitted that millions of its diesel cars worldwide were equipped with software that was used to cheat on emissions tests. The company is now grappling with the fallout.

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The E.P.A.’s report opens a new chapter in its investigation of Volkswagen’s practice. The new cheating devices were uncovered by investigators during new tests that were conducted on all diesel car models in the United States by E.P.A., the California Air Resources Board and the regulatory group Environment Canada.

“VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans,” Cynthia Giles, the assistant administrator for E.P.A.’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in a statement.

Volkswagen did not immediately comment on the E.P.A.’s announcement. The carmaker has not yet disclosed how it will fix the cars.

Since September, regulators have been conducting additional tests on all diesel cars models. They have not found similar defeat devices on diesel models produced by automakers other than Volkswagen. Testing is continuing and the agency plans to make its results public once the tests are completed.

The agency says the new tests found that Volkswagen had installed a defeat device in some Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel cars with a 3.0-liter engines, encompassing model years 2014 through 2016. It said these devices, meant to cheat on emissions testing, would increase the release of nitrogen oxide up to nine times the agency’s standard.

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The disclosure covers about 10,000 passenger cars already sold in the United States since the model year 2014. In addition, the violation notice from the agency covers an unspecified number of 2016 vehicles. The cars found to have the software installed are the diesel versions of the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5.

Until now, investigators in the United States and Europe had focused on 2.0-liter engines. Volkswagen has admitted that more than 11 million cars were equipped with this fraudulent software, including 482,000 in the United States.

Officials at the E.P.A. declined to say if Volkswagen had ever alerted them to the existence of fraudulent software on some of its 3.0-liter engines, citing the incomplete investigation.

“It continues to confirm that Volkswagen made a tremendous mistake in its corporate risk assessment, believing it could get away with this type of cheating and believing the repercussions would be modest,” said Drew Kodjak, executive director of the International Council on Clean Transportation, an environmental group whose testing played a role in revealing the VW scandal.

The company, one of Germany’s largest, is facing investigations in Europe and in the United States. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros, about $ 7.4 billion, to cover the expense of recalling and repairing cars equipped with the illegal software, though by most estimates the scandal is likely to cost Volkswagen a lot more than that.

Volkswagen has suspended several high-ranking officials potentially associated with the deceit.

During the first nine months of this year, Audi generated operating profit of €4 billion, or about 40 percent of the Volkswagen total, while Porsche generated ¢2.6 billion or another 25 percent of the total.


NYT > Technology

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