[BERLIN] German auto giant Volkswagen has reportedly steered clear of a fresh blow in its emissions-rigging scandal after tests found that another type of diesel engine was not fitted with software designed to dupe testers.
Volkswagen said "it is now clear" that the questionable software installed on 11 million vehicles "was not fitted" on the type of diesel engines that had replaced the EA 189 engines, which are at the heart of the massive scandal, the German DPA news agency reported.
A company spokesman had earlier said that the carmaker was checking whether EA288 engines with Euro 5 emissions standards were also equipped with the cheating device. The EA288 engines replaced the EA189 engines which have plunged Volkswagen into the storm of a worldwide scam.
The company headquartered in Wolfsburg in north Germany last month admitted to fitting 11 million vehicles of its various brands - VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat - with the rogue devices, engulfing the world's biggest automaker by sales in an unprecedented crisis.
The software turns on pollution controls when the vehicle is undergoing official emissions tests, and switches them off when the car is back on the road, allowing it to spew out harmful levels of dangerous gases.
The revelations about VW's manipulation of its diesel engines have sparked one of the biggest scandals in the history of the automobile sector.
In addition to the costs of repairing so many vehicles, the once-respected automaker faces billions of euros in potential fines and legal costs, aside from the incalculable fallout from lost sales and diminished customer trust.
Investigations over the diesel engines equipped with the pollution cheating device are under way in several countries, including the United States, Italy, Spain, France and Germany itself.
Volkswagen is preparing for a massive recall of affected vehicles, which it has to repair so they can meet environmental standards in the countries concerned.
The VW spokesman Thursday revealed that around three million of these are 1.6 litre diesel engine vehicles, which would need significant repairs.
Others with 1.2 litre and 2.0 litre engines would only require a software update.
Volkswagen is facing an unprecedented huge repair job at staggering costs, analysts say.
"I can't think of any other recall that would be as comprehensive," Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports magazine, told Bloomberg News. "It's really an expensive rework." Volkswagen has so far set aside 6.5 billion euros (S$10 billion) to do the repairs, but Bloomberg cited analysts who put the figure at 15-20 billion euros.
The scandal has already wiped off about half of the Volkswagen Group's market capitalisation, but this latest brief worry about another diesel engine did not affect its stock on Thursday.
Volkswagen shares rebounded 3.39 per cent to 103,80 euros on Frankfurt's DAX 30 index which closed up 2.48 per cent overall on hints of more economic stimulus by the European Central Bank.