VW made several defeat devices
According to new insider reports Volkswagen made several versions of its defeat device software.
The sources claim that Volkswagen altered its illegal software for four engine types, one of which includes a VW manager with knowledge of the matter, and another is cited as a US official close to an investigation into the company.
VW in Europe and the United States declined to comment on whether it developed multiple defeat devices, citing ongoing investigations by the company and authorities in both regions.
When asked about the number of people who might have known about the cheating, a spokesman at company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, said, ‘We are working intensely to investigate who knew what and when, but it’s far too early to tell.’
Some industry experts and analysts said several versions of the defeat device raised the possibility that a range of employees were involved. Software technicians would have needed regular funding and knowledge of engine programs, they said.
The number of people involved is a key issue for investors because it could affect the size of potential fines and the extent of management change at the company.
Experts also suggest that federal prosecution guidelines would call for the US Justice Department to seek tougher penalties if numerous senior executives were found to have been involved in the cheating.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen will face further setbacks after it emerged that the carmaker is facing a record-breaking €40bn (£30bn) legal attack fronted by one of the world’s top law firms.
Quinn Emanuel, which has won almost $50bn (£32bn) for clients and represented Google, Sony and Fifa, has been retained by claim funding group Bentham to prepare a case for VW shareholders over the diesel emissions scandal, The Sunday Telegraph revealed. Bentham has recently backed an action by Tesco shareholders over the retailer’s overstating of profits.
The pair are attempting to assemble a huge class action following what they call ‘fundamental dishonesty’ at the German auto giant, which plunged the carmaker into crisis after it admitted using ‘defeat devices’ to cheat pollution tests.
The admission has been hugely costly for shareholders after it wiped more than €25bn off VW’s stock market value. Recalls and fines worth tens of billions of euros more are also expected.