Volkswagen emissions scandal: Manufacturer suspends sale of 4,000 UK cars pending software fix

Audi, Skoda and Seat also fitted with technology that was used to cheat emissions tests in the US

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The Independent Online

Volkswagen suspended the sale of 4,000 vehicles in the UK as the emissions scandal continues to hit.

The company said the vehicles may be equipped with the device that cheated emissions tests in the US.

Cars affected included vehicles across the entire range including VW itself, Audi, Skoda and Seat models.

VW described it as a “temporary measure” and said it intended to return the vehicles for sale once a fix is identified for the engine management software problem .

Despite the scandal that began almost two weeks ago, VW customers could still buy vehicles that had the rogue software. The cars taken off the market represent three per cent of the company’s UK stock, it said.

Although all new cars sold since the start of last month have to be compliant with new, more stringent emission regulations, carmakers have some leeway about continuing to sell older models.

The board of the German carmaker said that an internal investigation will take “at least several months.” The investigation into the company’s conduct is being carried out by the US law firm Jones Day.

As a result VW said they were cancelling a special shareholders meeting next month because directors would not be able to provide “well-founded” answers to questions posed by shareholders, many of whom have expressed anger at the events that have engulfed the world’s biggest car manufacturer.

They also named a five-member board committee who will monitor the investigation into how cars were equipped with software that turned on pollution controls during official testing but turned them off them during ordinary driving.

The committee will be headed by the current acting board chairman, Berthold Huber. Huber is the former head of the IG Metall industrial workers’ union.

The company also confirmed that Hans Dieter Pötsch, VW’s chief finance director will become the new board chairman. Pötsch, 64, has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2003.

VW is looking for ways to cuts outgoings and boost cash flow to meet the mounting costs it faces. Citing sources close to VW’s supervisory board, Reuters reported that a share sale was likely if the cost exceeded a “critical level”.

Volkswagen declined to comment on the claims.

In the US, where the pollution cheating devices were revealed, the Environmental Protection Agency said they required VW to remedy all affected vehicles and that a recall was “likely.” The German carmaker has vowed to refit up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide

Romania have become the latest country to impose restrictions on VW diesel cars fitted with the devices.

Transport Minister Iulian Matache announced Romanian vehicle regulators would no longer register new and unsold Volkswagen cars with the affected engines. The minister said there are an estimated 105,000 Volkswagen, Audi, Seats and Skodas in circulation that could have to be recalled.

German prosecutors have clarified their investigation into any possible role former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn played in the scandal. Several criminal complaints have been filed by the company, including one by the company itself. Prosecutors said they are concentrating on the suspicion of fraud committed through the sale of vehicles with manipulated emissions data, and were determined to discover who was responsible for it. They stressed they had no evidence against Mr Winterkorn and said he had been named as the head of Volkswagen.