German authorities have given the VW Group just more than a week to prove that all its cars meet emissions regulations, amid reports in the national press that the company was warned as long ago as 2007 that using the software that cheated testing processes on production cars would be illegal.
The German industrial titan sparked global outrage when it admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars, including 2.8 million in Germany, are fitted with so-called defeat devices that activate pollution controls during tests but covertly turn them off when the vehicle is being driven.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung says the warning emerged during VW’s current investigation into the scandal.
Separately, “Bild am Sonntag” daily said the internal inquiry had found that parts supplier Bosch had warned Volkswagen not to use its software illegally.
Last week VW apologised for cheating on emissions tests in the US.
A spokesman for Volkswagen declined to comment on the reports, saying that as a matter of principle the company wouldn’t comment on what he called “rumors and speculation”.
The federal motor vehicle office (KBA) told VW to set out “binding measures and a timetable” by the deadline showing how it will meet emissions standards without resorting to software that rigs test results, Bild am Sonntag reported.
It said the move could affect 180,000 cars – not yet sold or registered – in the Euro5 emission category.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) told the BBC that it would join the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) investigation into VW.
The German group has suffered its biggest crisis in the same year it had reached its long-time goal – overtaking the Japan’s Toyota as the world’s top auto maker by sales.