A small group of Volkswagen engineers began working as early as 2005 on emissions cheating software after they were unable to find a technical solution to U.S. emissions controls as the automaker pushed into the North American market – executives said Thursday.
The company in September admitted to have cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests with the help of software installed in engines.
The software was built into 11 million cars globally – about 500,000 of which in the U.S. – from 2009 to 2015.
It has so far confirmed to have cheated only on the U.S. test – which are more rigorous than European ones for the polluting emission nitrogen oxide.
In an update on the company’s investigation in the case Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said engineers in 2005 were unable to find a technical solution to U.S. nitrogen oxide emissions within their ‘timeframe and budget’ and came up with the software that manipulated results when lab testing was done.
Later when a technical solution became available it was not employed Poetsch said.