(AP) – German prosecutors have opened an investigation against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn in the company’s emissions-rigging scandal.
Prosecutors in Braunschweig said Monday that the investigation would concentrate on the suspicion of fraud committed through the sale of vehicles with manipulated emissions data.
It added that the probe aims to establish who was responsible. Prosecutors have received a number of criminal complaints in the case, including one from Volkswagen itself that doesn’t name any suspects.
Volkswagen AG’s upmarket Audi brand says 2.1 million of its vehicles are among those with the engines affected by the emissions-rigging scandal.
Audi said Monday that the engine in question was built into 1.6-liter and 2-liter turbo diesel models in the A1, A3, A4, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5 ranges, news agency dpa reported. The cars involved have engines in the “euro 5” emissions category; those with the newer “euro 6” engines aren’t affected by the emissions scandal.
Volkswagen said last week that 11 million vehicles worldwide contain software involved in the emissions-rigging scandal, and later added that 5 million of those were cars were produced by its core VW brand. The group hasn’t yet given a full listing of what cars were involved.
A European environmental organization says it has found some new models of Mercedes, Volkswagens, BMWs and other new cars consume much more gasoline than lab tests claim.
The organization, Transport & Environment, said Monday it had found no proof the cars are equipped with the same sort of “defeat devices” installed on diesel-powered Volkswagens to enable them to cheat on emissions tests.
But the group called on European Union governments to broaden their probes into the “defeat devices” to cover gasoline cars as well.
Transport & Environment said according to its research, the gap between lab test results for fuel economy and real-world performance rose last year to 40 percent on average, from 8 percent in 2001.
It said the difference for Mercedes A, C and E class models is over 50 percent.