Volkswagen: CO2 emissions problem far smaller than suspected


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BERLIN (AP) — Volkswagen said Wednesday that a problem with carbon dioxide emissions is far smaller than initially suspected, with further checks finding "slight discrepancies" in only a few models and no evidence of illegal changes to fuel consumption and emissions figures.

In a case that is separate from its scandal over cheating on U.S. emissions tests for the pollutant nitrogen oxide, Volkswagen said in November it had also found "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from up to 800,000 vehicles.

On Wednesday, however, it said that further internal investigations and measurement checks found that "almost all of these model variants do correspond to the CO2 figures originally determined."

"This means that these vehicles can be marketed and sold without any limitations," the company said in a statement. "The suspicion that the fuel consumption figures of current production vehicles had been unlawfully changed was not confirmed."

Shares in Volkswagen jumped 6 percent on the news.

Volkswagen said Wednesday that "slight deviations" were found in nine variants of Volkswagen brand models — versions of the Polo, Scirocco, Jetta, Golf and Passat with an annual production of some 36,000 cars, or 0.5 percent of the brand's total production. Those deviations amount to "a few grams of CO2 on average," it said.

"These model variants will be re-measured by a neutral technical service under the supervision of the appropriate authority by Christmas," Volkswagen added. It added that "in the case of any deviations, the figures will be adjusted in the future in the course of the normal processes as required."

The company initially said that issues with carbon dioxide emissions could cost it another 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) on top of the costs incurred in the scandal over the nitrogen oxide emissions-cheating.

No technical modifications to vehicles will be needed, so that cost "has not been confirmed," Volkswagen said Wednesday. "Whether we will have a minor economic impact depends on the results of the re-measurement exercise."

Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority ordered after Volkswagen's announcement last month that the CO2 emissions of the models in question be measured anew, and the government said it was sticking to that.

"These measurements ... will be conducted in full irrespective of the evaluation by VW that is now available," Transport Ministry spokesman Ingo Strater said. "For an assessment, we will have to wait for these measurements."

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Geir Moulson

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