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Volkswagen's Diesel Software Reportedly Developed In 1999

20 Avril 2016 - Autoblog

Volkswagen's Diesel Software Reportedly Developed In 1999

Volkswagen has already missed one deadline in its efforts to fix the problems created by the company's diesel-emissions scandal that became public last September.

It is now also likely to miss a late-April deadline that regulators pushed back so the automaker had more time to spell out how a solution, Bloomberg News says, citing people familiar with the process. About 450 investigators are poring over data from about 1,500 laptop computers and interviewing about 20 employees as part of the probe. Part of the delay has been caused by investigators' efforts to decode intracompany terminology such as "acoustic software" and how such code words reveal how VW equipped its diesel engines to "cheat" the emissions-testing process. Investigators say VW used "dozens" of such code words.

VW missed a deadline late last month that US District Judge Charles Breyer set in late February. The automaker had been told to disclose its fix to the US Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) by March 24. The new deadline is April 21.

VW's efforts to sidestep diesel-emissions mandates may date back almost two decades, Reuters says, quoting a report in German newspaper Handelsblatt that cited sources familiar with that process. Engineers at VW's Audi division created software that could shut down certain engine functions as far back as 1999, though the software wasn't installed on any vehicles until 2005. Both VW and Audi declined to comment to Handelsblatt.

Investors are expecting total costs from the scandal to be in the $23 billion range. Volkswagen plans to hold meetings later this week to discuss the scandal's impact on financial results and executive bonus plans. The company, which has delayed its earnings as well as its annual shareholders' meeting, plans to discuss earnings as well as the emissions-fix status on April 28.

Volkswagen told Bloomberg it'd be prepared to comment later in the month. The automaker produced about 11 million diesel-powered vehicles, including almost 600,000 in the US, with software that was designed to turn off pollutant controls used needed to pass the testing process during real-world driving. As a result, VW was sued by the US Justice Department in January for about $18 billion before that figure was later revised to as much as $46 billion.

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