Top VW execs knew of inflated mileage rates since 2014, says German paper Bill am Sonntag

Article by Christian A., on December 4, 2015

Volkswagen has reiterated that it only discovered that its carbon dioxide emission labels were incorrect as part of its efforts to resolve the diesel emissions scandal that rocked the auto world in September. Earlier this month, VW said it understated carbon dioxide emission and fuel consumption figures of around 800,000 cars marketed mainly in Europe.

But a report from a local newspaper said otherwise. According to Bild am Sonntag, without disclosing its sources, top executives at the German carmaker had knowledge of some incorrect labels, which indicated lower carbon dioxide emission and fuel consumption levels than actual.

The paper, citing people close to former VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn, reported that months after knowing of the overstated fuel usage labels, he only decided to withdraw one model -- the Polo TDI BlueMotion – from the market since the difference between the figures on the label and the actual fuel consumption was pretty obvious.

In fact, the Polo variant was consuming 18 percent more diesel than what was stated on the label. On the other hand, VW said at the time that it was pulling out the Polo TDI BlueMotion because the variant was experiencing poor sales.

According to Bild am Sonntag, VW had not made Polo TDI BlueMotion owners aware of the vehicle's high fuel consumption. VW's diesel emission scandal initially involved software -- installed on up to 11 million diesel vehicles around the world -- that the German carmaker admitted was designed to artificially suppress nitrogen oxide emissions during an emission test.

The scandal is expected to cost VW billions of Euros. This scandal is what prompted Winterkorn to quit as VW's CEO in September, as the carmaker admitted deceiving United States regulators about the pollutants emitted by diesel cars.

In November, Volkswagen confirmed that it has suspended the production of the diesel-powered 2016 Passat midsize sedans at its Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The production halt comes in the middle of a plan to hike the production of this version of the Passat. VW dealerships were to start receiving the gasoline-powered 2016 Passats late in November.

VW has admitted that production of diesel-powered Passat units had continued after September 18, when the news broke out about the US Environmental Protection Agency out that software inside VW’s 2.0-liter diesel engine had caused the emissions level to be rated lower than it actually was.

The EPA disclosed last month that VW had withdrawn its certification application for its 2016 2.0-liter diesel models. In October, VW sold 8,116 Passat units in the US.

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Topics: vw, germany, dieselgate

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