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VW Scandal: France to launch ‘in-depth’ probe

Update: France's Environment Minister Segolene Royal on Tuesday announced an "in-depth" investigation after Volkswagen admitted millions of cars were fitted with software that secretly thwarts pollution tests in the US.

VW Scandal: France to launch 'in-depth' probe
"This is not a minor subject, it's not about speed or the quality of leather," said the French finance minister of the VW scandal. Photo: AFP

Royal also asked French manufacturers to “ensure that such schemes are not taking place in France.”

Her announcement came after Michel Sapin on Tuesday morning told French radio that in order to “reassure” the public, it seemed “necessary” to carry out checks on cars manufactured by other European carmakers.

“We are in a European market, with European rules that need to be respected,” Sapin told Europe 1 radio.

“Even if it's just to reassure people, it seems necessary to me that (checks should be carried out) also on French carmakers,” he said, adding he had no “particular reason” to suspect wrongdoing.

According to US authorities, VW admitted that it had equipped about 482,000 cars in the United States with sophisticated software that covertly turns off pollution controls when the car is being driven and turns them on only when it detects that the car is undergoing an emissions test.

With the so-called “defeat device” deactivated, the car can spew pollutant gases into the air, including nitrogen oxide in amounts as much as 40 percent higher than emissions standards, said the US Environmental Protection Agency.

“This is not a minor subject, it's not about speed or the quality of leather,” stressed Sapin.

“What we are dealing with is making sure people avoid being poisoned by pollution,” said the minister.

German authorities have already announced an investigation into whether Volkswagen or other carmakers are doing anything similar in Germany or Europe.

 

VOLKSWAGEN

Volkswagen: France has 1 million ‘rigged’ vehicles

Volkswagen has said that there are nearly 1 million vehicles in France that are fitted with emission cheating devices.

Volkswagen: France has 1 million 'rigged' vehicles
A total of 984,064 cars in France have the software. Photo: AFP
Volkswagen officials admitted on Wednesday that there are close to 1 million vehicles in France that are equipped with pollution-cheating software.
 
A total of 946,092 cars have been sold in France in recent years that were involved in the scandal that has rocked the automobile industry.
 
They are mostly Volkswagen models, but also include Skoda and Seat cars which are part of the VW group.
 
Further details remain unclear at present, but VW has already said that there are a total of 11 million vehicles worldwide which could be affected by software that covertly turns on pollution controls when the car is being tested, and off when it is being driven.
 
With the so-called “defeat device” deactivated, the car can spew pollutant gases into the air, including nitrogen oxide in amounts as much as 40 percent higher than emissions standards, said the US Environmental Protection Agency.
 
Of the 11 million affected vehicles, 1.8 million are commercial vehicles.
 
The German government has given VW until October 7th to outline how it plans to resolve the crisis that has rocked carmakers around the world and wiped €29 billion ($33 billion), or 38 percent, off VW's market capitalisation over the past ten days.
 
The latest scandal broke when US officials publicly accused Volkswagen of cheating and launched a probe which has also seen a growing list of other countries launch investigations.

Volkswagen's CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned amid the emerging scandal, and he is under investigation in Germany.

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