8 mil. cars in Europe hit by emis­sions probe: VW


Volk­swa­gen says 8 mil­lion cars in the Euro­pean Union are af­fected by an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into whether the au­tomaker ma­nip­u­lated emis­sions tests, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter re­ceived Mon­day by Ger­man law­mak­ers.

Volk­swa­gen has pre­vi­ously said that 11 mil­lion diesel ve­hi­cles world­wide had en­gines fit­ted with soft­ware that can help them cheat U.S. emis­sions tests.

“Rest as­sured that at the mo­ment we are work­ing hard and co­or­di­nat­ing closely with the author­i­ties and the (Ger­man) fed­eral gov­ern­ment on a tech­ni­cal so­lu­tion for the ve­hi­cles con­cerned,” Volk­swa­gen told law­mak­ers in the let­ter, which was ob­tained by The As­so­ci­ated Press.

“In the Euro­pean Union eight mil­lion type EA 189 EU5 diesel en­gines with a 1.2 liter, 1.6 liter and 2.0 liter en­gine ca­pac­ity are af­fected,” said the let­ter, which was signed by VW lob­by­ists Thomas Steg and Michael Jansen.

“We know that the wrong­do­ing of a few peo­ple has caused great harm to our en­tire com­pany,” the let­ter dated Oct. 2 added.

As the U.S. Congress pre­pares to ques­tion Volk­swa­gen of­fi­cials in Washington over its ma­nip­u­la­tion of emis­sions tests, Ger­man media re­ported over the week­end that the com­pany it­self is fo­cus­ing on three de­vel­op­ment man­agers who have been sus­pended.

Bild news­pa­per re­ported Sun­day that Heinz-Jakob Neusser, head of de­vel­op­ment at VW, and engi­neers Ul­rich Hack­en­berg and Wolf­gang Hatz had been put on forced va­ca­tion in the wake of the scan­dal. Other news­pa­pers had sim­i­lar re­ports.

Hatz de­clined com­ment through a spokesman and nei­ther of the other two re­sponded to emails seek­ing com­ment. VW spokesman Eric Fel­ber on Mon­day re­fused to com­ment on “var­i­ous public spec­u­la­tion.”

Bild re­ported that VW’s in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion had turned up con­tra­dic­tory in­for­ma­tion on Hack­en­berg’s pos­si­ble in­volve­ment, while Hatz de­nied knowl­edge.

From 2002 to Jan­uary 2007, Hack­en­berg was in charge of con­cept de­vel­op­ment, su­per­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment and elec­tron­ics at VW sub­sidiary Audi. In 2007 he was ap­pointed a mem­ber of the VW brand’s board for de­vel­op­ment, and has been a mem­ber of Audi’s man­age­ment board since July 2013. He had re­spon­si­bil­ity for tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment of all of the VW group’s brands.

Hatz joined the VW group in 2001 and served as head of en­gines and trans­mis­sions de­vel­op­ment at Audi un­til 2009, as­sum­ing the same func­tion at VW in 2007. In Fe­bru­ary 2011 he be­came a mem­ber of Porsche’s board of man­age­ment in charge of re­search and de­vel­op­ment and is also head of en­gines and trans­mis­sions de­vel­op­ment for the Volk­swa­gen group.

VW and Porsche merged 2012 af­ter years of wran­gling.

Neusser was in charge of driv­e­train de­vel­op­ment of Porsche from 2001 to 2011 be­fore join­ing VW to head pow­er­train de­vel­op­ment there, tak­ing over the job for the whole Volk­swa­gen group in 2012. The next year, he was named man­age­ment board mem­ber for the Volk­swa­gen brand in charge of de­vel­op­ment.

VW’s top man­ager in the U.S., Michael Horn, is to tes­tify be­fore Congress on Thurs­day.


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