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Volkswagen Defeat-Device Scandal Grows|as EPA Flags Porsche and Audi

(CN) - Volkswagen failed to mention that Porsches and Audis also cheat on emissions tests, U.S. regulators said Monday, bringing new charges against the automaker.

Whereas the charges that the Environmental Protection Agency brought against Volkswagen in September involved 2-liter engine vehicles since 2009, regulators announced today that seven other SUV and luxury cars fitted with 3-liter engines also incorporate the so-called defeat-device software.

In addition to the 2014 VW Touareg, the EPA has flagged the 2015 Porsche Cayenne and five 2016 Audi models: the A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5.

Regulators say the software uses a sophisticated algorithm to kick into full emissions-control mode only when it detects the vehicle is undergoing inspections.

Volkswagen admitted in response to the initial accusations that 11 million cars fitted with the 2.0-liter engines had the cheating software installed. The scandal led to the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn, more than 100 class action lawsuits, and multiple federal investigations.

The Clean Air Act violation notice that the EPA issued Monday covers approximately 10,000 diesel passenger cars sold in the United States since model year 2014, plus an unknown number of 2016 vehicles.

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said that Volkswagen "has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans."

"All companies should be playing by the same rules," Giles said in a statement.

After Winterkorn stepped down in the wake of the September notice of violation, Volkswagen named Porsche chairman Matthias Mueller as CEO.

Mueller said at the time that his most urgent task would be to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group "by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency."

The EPA's announcement today comes just weeks after Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, testified before Congress that upper management was not aware of the presence of the defeat devices. Horn said a few rogue engineers were to blame for the scheme.

All of the 3-liter engine cars implicated by the new notice of violation increase emissions of nitrogen oxide up to nine times the EPA standards, the agency said.

Regulators say the list of affected vehicles could get longer as California and federal environmental authorities continue their investigation, which will include testing diesels from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The California Air Resources Board "sent letters to all manufacturers letting them know we would be screening vehicles for potential defeat devices," board executive officer Richard Corey said in a statement.

Last week, researchers at MIT published a peer-review paper finding that about 60 Americans will die prematurely as a result of Volkswagen's use of the defeat devices.

The study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters also found that 140 more people would eventually die early if the affected vehicles are not recalled. (

The EPA advised owners of the vehicles that, despite the alleged air violations, the vehicles do not represent a safety hazard for the drivers and remain legal to drive and sell.

Volkswagen is facing up to $37,500 per vehicle, meaning an additional $375 million of penalties could be added to the already projected tens of billions of dollars of fines, based on EPA's most recent notice of violation.

The company has not commented on the latest round of allegations.

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