VW says 800,000 more cars affected by emissions 'irregularities'

Share prices in the German automaker have nosedived after it admitted to finding further problems that could cost it up to $2.2 billion.

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Volkswagen's investigation into the emissions scandal is not yet finished.

Ralf Hirschberger/dpa/Corbis

Volkswagen acknowledged Tuesday that the emissions-testing irregularities affecting diesel cars could affect 800,000 more vehicles than the company initially thought.

The German automaker came across issue while investigating the emissions-testing scandal that has blighted the company since it became public in September. Shares in the company plunged by 8.4 percent on Wednesday morning as Volkswagen estimated the new issue could cost 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to resolve.

It's another blow for a company that has lost the trust of consumers after it admitted that up to 11 million vehicles had been fitted with devices that were able to fool diesel emissions tests with artificially low scores. The revelation caused the automaker to issue one of the largest recalls ever, covering roughly 8.5 million vehicles.

"From the very start I have pushed hard for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events," said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller in a statement. "This is a painful process, but it is our only alternative. For us, the only thing that counts is the truth."

Volkswagen disclosed the findings publicly after fresh allegations were leveled at it by the US Environmental Protection Agency on Monday. The agency reported finding so-called "defeat devices" on 3-liter diesel engines in various large sport utility vehicles. When tested independently by the EPA, the vehicles were found to have nitrogen oxide levels up to nine times the allowed standard.

All of the initial revelations related to nitrogen oxide levels, but the latest disclosures are the first to show that Volkswagen was also trying to deceive testers regarding the emission of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The majority of vehicles with irregularities had diesel engines, the carmaker said. Brands including Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi, Skoda and Seat could all be affected, a company spokesman told the BBC.

Volkswagen's supervisory board issued a separate statement saying it is "deeply concerned by the discovery of irregularities," which have been discovered as part of the internal clarification process. Its priority now, it said, was to work with the board of management to "resolve such irregularities and rebuild trust."

The company did not immediately respond to CNET's request for further comment.

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