‘700000 Seat cars fitted with emissions-cheating software’

Madrid: Seat, the Spanish carmaker owned by the Volkswagen group, fitted 700,000 of its cars with pollution cheating software to dupe emissions tests, a company spokesman said today. “These 700,000 vehicles were distributed by Seat’s global network and we are currently working to determine how many of them were sold in each national market,” the spokesman said. VW had sparked global outrage last week when it admitted that 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide are equipped with so-called defeat devices that activate pollution controls during tests but turn them off when the car is on the road.

Seat said it would summon the owners of vehicles equipped with the affected EA 189 motors to authorised service centres to undergo tests. It will also set up a search engine on its website to allow customers to find out if their vehicle is affected. Seat said it had temporarily suspended the sale and delivery of all new vehicles with the EA 189 motors.

Volkswagen’s top-of-the-range automaker Audi said that 2.1 million of its diesel cars worldwide are affected, as are another 1.2 million vehicles of VW’s Czech subsidiary Skoda. A spokesman for Volkswagen’s light commercial vehicles business said 1.8 million of its light utility vehicles were also similarly equipped.

German prosecutors announced Monday a criminal probe of Volkswagen’s former chief executive Martin Winterkorn, who resigned over the scandal.

The group named Matthias Mueller, head of VW’s luxury sports car brand Porsche, as Winterkorn’s successor. With the carmaker facing the possibility of having to recall as many as 2.8 million vehicles in Germany alone, the direct and indirect costs of the affair are still incalculable.

VW has already said it will set aside 6.5 billion euros in provisions in the third quarter. But analysts at DZ Bank suggested it could be one to three billion euros more.

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