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Volkswagen says its employees flagged latest emissions faults

A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain Nov 5, 2015.

[BERLIN] Volkswagen AG said emissions inconsistencies it disclosed on 800,000 cars last week were the result of employees informing their superiors, an indication the company is making progress in its push to foster more transparency among company workers as the automaker seeks to overcome the worst crisis in its history.

The findings, which the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company made public on Nov 3, were the result of employees coming forward during an internal investigation, Volkswagen said in a statement on Sunday. The employees informed the carmaker about "irregular" consumption in cars, the company said. A probe into the matter continues, VW said.

The admission that more cars than the previously disclosed 11 million vehicles are affected has plunged Volkswagen deeper into crisis, escalating the scandal from software used to cheat on emissions tests to discrepancies on carbon-dioxide output, including in some non-diesel cars. Volkswagen has said the latest findings will add about 2 billion euros (S$3.05 billion) in financial risk to the already 6.7 billion euros it has set aside to cover the first hit from the probe.

An engineer at the company told management last month that CO2 emissions values had been manipulated since 2013 to fulfill targets that were unattainable by legal means, the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported Sunday. Technicians at the company failed to report the practices earlier for fear of retribution, the newspaper said. Volkswagen declined to comment on details of the report.

Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller, who was appointed in the wake of the scandal, is seeking to change the corporate culture at VW and encourage more openness in an effort to repair the company's battered reputation. The falsified reports began shortly after former CEO Martin Winterkorn ordered a 30 percent reduction in the CO2 output of new vehicles by 2015, Bild am Sonntag said. The whistle-blower is still employed, the newspaper said.

Mr Mueller, who has yet to visit regulators in the US where the initial diesel-emissions cheating was uncovered, is under pressure to show that VW is turning a new leaf. The company's supervisory board, which will meet Monday, has said after the latest irregularities that it will soon discuss "further measures and consequences."