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VW Group's defeat device software is allegedly old enough to drive

And it's damn near old enough to buy a beer, too!

VW Logo

It's kind of nice to know that VW Group didn't actually use the software right away, despite having it at the ready.

Ralf Hirschberger/dpa/Corbis

When I first learned that Volkswagen created software meant to deceive emissions testers and put over-polluting vehicles on roads, I figured the company hadn't created the software overnight. But I never would have guessed that the software is more than half my own age!

According to Reuters, German newspaper Handelsblatt said that Audi -- but one part of the massive Volkswagen Group empire -- created its defeat device software back in 1999. Handelsblatt cited insider sources with this tidbit. While it may not have been specifically related to diesel vehicles at that time, its function was clear -- shutting off certain vehicle components at certain times.

However, that software didn't get put into vehicles until the mid-aughts, when Volkswagen employees were having a hard time getting their diesel vehicles to meet strict nitrogen-oxide emissions limits. And thus, Dieselgate was born. Volkswagen did not immediately return a request for comment on the matter.

This week also marks the next "deadline" for Volkswagen and federal regulators to agree on a fix. While it's been reported that the involved parties will likely miss this deadline, it's unlikely to carry any ramification. Both VW and regulators continue to claim that talks are progressing, and they'll eventually reach a solution palatable to both parties.