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Winterkorn in the clear as VW engine noose loosens

In the clear: former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was the first to fall on his professional sword over the cheat device scandal, but it appears now he had no knowledge of the events unfolding in the US.

Dieselgate’s first casualty cleared of wrongdoing Volkswagen clears EA288 EU5s

27 Oct 2015

AN internal investigation at Volkswagen AG has reportedly cleared former CEO Martin Winterkorn of having any prior knowledge of the huge cheat device scandal that currently envelops the company.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported this week that Dr Winterkorn only learned of the issue a few days before the story broke in the United States, according to an internal investigation at Volkswagen AG. He stood down on 23 September, claiming no knowledge of the scandal.

Dr Winterkorn also stepped down from the board of Porsche in early October, but still holds key roles on the board of both Audi and Scania.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen AG has declared that the company’s range of EA288 engines, including Euro 5-compliant versions, are not fitted with emissions test-defeating software.

“After thorough examination it is now confirmed that no software constituting an improper defeat device as defined in law is installed in vehicles with EA288 EU5-engines,” said the head of Volkswagen brand communications, Peter Thul, in a statement.

“Before, Volkswagen Group has confirmed that new EU6-compliant vehicles offered within the European Union fulfil all legal requirements and environmental standards.”

The EA288 is used in a wide array of vehicles including the Golf, Polo, Tiguan and more. Volkswagen claims that Euro 6-compliant engines were never a part of the issue, and EA288 diesels are sold in Australia as a Euro 6 engine.

The company said it is still working through rectification plans to suit each type of affected engine. Reports suggest that of the three series of EA189 engines affected by the cheat device, the first generation of engines built before 2010 will be the most costly and difficult to rectify.

“The measures are currently being developed for each affected series and each affected model year and will first be presented to the responsible authorities,” said Mr Thul.

“Volkswagen will subsequently inform the owners of these vehicles over the next weeks and months.”

Volkswagen Australia elected not to comment further on the international release. The local arm initiated a voluntary recall earlier in October, and is in the process of contacting owners of affected vehicles ahead of the commencement of rectification work in January 2016.

The count of affected vehicles in Australia includes 61,189 passenger and 17,256 VW commercial vehicles. The group tally stands at 97,621 when Skoda and Audi vehicles are accounted for.

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