German carmaker Volkswagen, which has come under fire for cheating on emissions tests for its diesel vehicles, was reportedly warned by one of its engineers and a supplier about the illegality of the software as far back as 2007, according to two German newspapers.
Bosch, which supplies automotive parts, sent a letter in 2007 to VW, warning the firm against the illegal use of its software designed to cheat on emissions tests, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing a VW internal inquiry report without mentioning its sources.
In 2011, a VW engineer was supposed to have warned management about the illegal practice, said news agencies, citing newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
The automaker admitted on Monday last week to having installed software in the diesel engines of as many as 11 million cars, after the International Council for Clean Transportation researchers found VW’s Jetta 2012 and Passat 2013 cars violated United States emissions standards.
The scandal led to the resignation of its chief executive Martin Winterkorn two days after the scandal broke. Matthias Mueller, appointed to replace Winterkorn on September 25, promised that the firm “will have even stricter governance, compliance and standards”.
Meanwhile, German prosecutors have started fraud investigations against VW’s former head, media reports said on Monday.
Diesel engine cars are considered “cleaner cars” because they emit less carbon dioxide - the greenhouse gas that’s the main culprit behind rising global average temperatures - than gasoline-fueled ones. European governments encourage people to buy these diesel vehicles by offering incentives and tax breaks.
However, diesel engines emit nitrogen oxide, which can harm humans and cause lung and heart diseases.
VW’s subsidiaries Audi and Skoda also admitted on Monday that a total of 3.3 million of their cars were fitted with the software; BBC reported that of the 1.42 million such vehicles in western Europe, 577,000 are in Germany. There are almost 13,000 of them in the US.
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