VW says rulebreaking culture at root of emissions scandal

Earlier today, Volkswagen held a press conference at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, to update the world about the automaker's ongoing emissions scandal. VW CEO Matthias Müller and chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch discussed the roots of the problem, VW's proposed fixes for some of the affected cars, and the company's reorganization plans.

In fact, VW has two separate emissions problems. The first came to light in September, when the US Environmental Protection Agency sent a notice of violation to VW informing the car maker that 500,000 diesel-engined cars would have to be recalled over "defeat device software" embedded in their engine control units. VW's four-cylinder EA 198 diesel engine contains code that detects when a car undergoes an emissions test and adjusts the engine tuning. This decreases the amount of NOx compounds produced in the exhaust to legal limits, allowing the vehicle to pass the test at the cost of reduced power (and therefore efficiency).

Before long, the scandal had grown beyond the 500,000 cars sold in the US to include up to 11 million vehicles worldwide. More recently, the EPA notified VW group that the 3L V6 diesel used by VW, Audi, and Porsche also has an illegal auxiliary emissions control device.

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