VW acknowledges cheating software taints Europe too

The automaker cops to installing a program that undercounts emissions in some Audi and Porsche models sold across Europe, the company's biggest market.

Nearly 40 percent of Volkswagen's sales come from Europe, its biggest market. VW hasn't said yet how many European vehicles are affected by the newest revelation.

Antuan Goodwin/CNET

Volkswagen acknowledged Thursday that some of its Audi and Porsche models in Europe contain emissions-cheating software similar to that found by US regulators.

VW told Reuters the software was found in European Audis and Porsches with six-cylinder diesel engines. The software, known as an auxiliary emissions control device (AECD), allegedly changes the operation of a six-cylinder vehicle's catalytic converter. This is different than the defeat-device software found in the four-cylinder cars that kickstarted the debacle.

"AECD software does not alter emissions levels, but it ensures after a cold start (of the engine) that the catalytic converters quickly reach their working temperature and emissions cleaning takes effect," Volkswagen told Reuters.

Volkswagen didn't return a request for comment.

The problem, which originally emerged in the US, has dogged the carmaker since September, when it apologized for knowingly installing defeat-device software in four-cylinder diesel models around the world. Some 11 million vehicles have been emitting nitrogen oxides well above accepted levels because of the software, which was designed to cheat regulatory tests.

Both the number of issues and the number of affected cars and SUVs has grown since the issue originally came to light.

Analysts from Barclays told Reuters that the number of newly affected European vehicles could outnumber American counterparts by a factor of 20.

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