Frankfurt, Germany: Volkswagen said Tuesday that 11 million diesel cars worldwide were equipped with the same software that was used to cheat on emissions tests in the United States. The company issued a de facto profit warning because of the costs of repairing vehicles to comply with pollution standards.
The statement was the carmaker’s first admission that diesel cars outside the United States may have the software that led the Environmental Protection Agency to accuse the carmaker of deliberately evading pollution tests. Previously, the company had acknowledged only that the problem affected about 500,000 vehicles in the United States.
Volkswagen said it would set aside 6.5 billion euros, or about $7.3 billion, to cover the cost of servicing the affected vehicles “and other efforts to win back the trust of our customers.” The money would be booked in the third quarter, Volkswagen said.
The German carmaker said that “a noticeable deviation between bench-test results and actual road use was established” for 11 million so-called Type EA 189 engines.
Other diesel cars made by the company have the same engine management software, but it has no effect, Volkswagen said.
Volkswagen shares fell 20 percent in trading on Tuesday, after falling by the same amount on Monday.
The number of cars involved suggests that the scale of the damage to Volkswagen’s reputation and its financial standing may be even greater than thought, and cover cars sold around the world, not just in the United States.
The diesel cars were programmed to sense when emissions were being tested, and to turn on equipment that reduced emissions, according to U.S. officials. At other times, the cars had better fuel economy and performance, but produced as much as 40 times the allowed amounts of nitrogen oxide, a pollutant that can contribute to respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.
“Volkswagen is working intensely to eliminate these deviations through technical measures,” the company said.
“Earnings targets for the group for 2015 will be adjusted accordingly,” Volkswagen said.
The EPA has ordered Volkswagen to recall almost a half-million vehicles sold in the United States from 2009 to 2015. The affected Golf, Passat, Jetta and Beetle cars were equipped with 2-liter diesel engines.