The news comes as it emerges that Volkswagen, already reeling from the backlash over what is known – inevitably – as dieselgate, was warned about cheating emissions tests several years ago by the company’s own staff members and by one of its suppliers.
The warning from internal engineers as far back as 2011 is said to have surfaced from VW’s internal investigation into the scandal, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung claimed.
A separate report in Bild am Sonntag said the investigation had also turned up a warning from Bosch from as far back as 2007. The company, which supplies parts to VW, said its software should only be used for company tests and not for normal driving, according to the report.
Volkswagen declined to comment on the details of either newspaper report. “There are serious investigations underway and the focus is now also on technical solutions” for customers and dealers, a Volkswagen spokesman said. “As soon as we have reliable facts, we will be able to give answers.” A spokesman for Bosch said the company’s dealings with VW were confidential.
New chief executive Matthais Mueller sent a letter to staff promising “relentless” efforts to investigate the scandal and promote the “strongest compliance and governance standards in the industry”.
On Saturday, Switzerland banned sales of Volkswagen diesel cars in the most severe step taken so far by a government. And VW’s Italian unit has told its dealers to stop selling them “as a precautionary measure”, Corriera della Sera newspaper reported yesterday. It said that would leave 40,000 cars stuck on Italian lots. Italy’s Volkswagen headquarters in Verona declined to comment.
Volkswagen is still coming up with plans to deal with the 11m cars that it built with the affected engines.