Volkswagen can breathe a small sigh of relief Wednesday now that an internal investigation has determined it has one fewer emissions scandal to worry about.
The beleaguered carmaker launched the probe in November out of concern that fuel consumption, and thus carbon dioxide emissions, had been understated for up to 800,000 vehicles. Volkswagen now says only about 36,000 vehicles were affected by the problem and that there's no evidence of intentional or illegal jiggery-pokery.
"The suspicion that fuel consumption figures of current production vehicles had been unlawfully changed was not confirmed," the company said in a statement. "These cars can be offered for sale by dealers without any reservations." The cars affected by this carbon dioxide investigation totaled nine variants, divided among the Polo, Scirocco, Golf and Passat models.
The company said it has submitted its findings to the German government and will also provide third-party verification of its claims. The automaker also promised that the neutral middleman will release its data before Christmas.
Wednesday's news has the potential to save Volkswagen a fair bit of money. When the carbon dioxide issue first became known, the automaker expected to spend roughly 2 billion euro ($2.2 billion) as the result of any misconduct.
The German automaker remains in deep trouble, however, as it admitted in September to illegally manipulating its diesel vehicles for the purpose of deceiving emissions testers around the world. Real-world testing showed that Volkswagen's diesel models released nitrous oxide emissions well above any legal limit. The issue has affected some 11 million cars internationally.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller will host a press conference Thursday to discuss the diesel debacle at length. The company will also release additional findings from its internal investigations, as it works to discover who knew what and when.