Volkswagen admits 'CO2 irregularities'

Emissions scandal takes a sinister twist as VW admits faulty carbon dioxide readings

VW CO2 emissions GOlfJUST 24 hours after American authorities accused Volkswagen of fitting nitrogen oxide/dioxide (NOx) “defeat devices” to its 3-litre six-cylinder diesel engines — a charge it rejects — the car maker itself has reported finding “irregularities” in the carbon dioxide emission levels of some of its engines.

The Volkswagen Group said that up to 800,000 cars from its VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands could be affected. So far it is only VW’s diesel engines that have been in the spotlight, but this latest problem could also involve its petrol engines. The units concerned are believed to be VW’s 1.4-litre petrol engines with cylinder-on-demand technology and its three and four-cylinder BlueMotion diesel powerplants.

VW’s admission could have profound consequences since carbon dioxide emissions are closely related to fuel consumption and are currently used to determine British road tax levels. The majority of consumers rely on the accuracy of these two factors when deciding what car to buy.

The car maker’s latest problem was revealed in a statement released by its supervisory board. It said it had “discovered irregularities when determining CO2 levels for the type approval of Volkswagen Group vehicles”. It promised “swift and meticulous clarification”.

Matthias Mueller, VW’s recently appointed chief executive, said: “From the very start I have pushed for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events. For us the only thing that counts is the truth.”

The latest turn of events may come as little surprise to motorists who report huge differences between their car’s actual fuel consumption, and therefore CO2 emissions, and the figures claimed by car makers.