Volkswagen used devices to cheat air pollution tests in diesel luxury vehicles, U.S. environmental regulators said on Monday, in a new blow to the automaker already reeling from similar allegations regarding millions of smaller diesel engines.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is now looking at 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines used mostly in larger, more expensive models like the Porsche Cayenne sport utility vehicle in addition to engines on Jettas, Passats and other mass-market models whose test-deceiving software were initially targeted by the agency in mid-September.
Volkswagen in a response Monday took issue with the EPA’s findings, saying that “no software has been installed” in its 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines “to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner.”
VW made similar denials for more than a year to U.S. regulators before admitting to cheating on the four-cylinder diesels.
A VW group source familiar with the EPA investigation on Monday said, “We want to know more from the regulators about how they came to this conclusion. We’re not sure how they came up with their findings, and would like a better opportunity to review the data with the regulators.”
The V6 diesel was designed by VW’s Audi unit and widely used in premium models sold by the VW, Audi and Porsche brands in model years 2014 through 2016.
The move pulls Porsche and Audi deeper into the scandal that has already engulfed the corporate parent Volkswagen AG and its mass-market VW brand, shaving nearly 20 billion euros ($22 billion) off its market capitalization.
On the road, emissions of the smog-causing pollutant nitrogen oxide on the affected high-end vehicles could be nine times higher than allowed, the EPA said.
“The latest revelations raise the question, where does VW’s road of deceit end?,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton said in a statement, adding that the disclosure “prompts questions regarding the prevalence of the emissions cheating and how it went undetected for so long.”
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