Allegations that embattled German carmaker Volkswagen lied about the carbon dioxide emissions of up to 800,000 cars seem to have evaporated into thin air and will have no consequences for customers, the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper -- quoting joint investigations by the federal transport authority, the transport ministry and VW itself -- said the number of cars actually affected was much lower, under 40,000, and owners would not be expected to make any additional tax payments as a result of the discrepancies.
VW is currently engulfed in a massive pollution-scandal that had initially centred on so-called defeat devices, sophisticated software fitted into diesel engines to skew the results of tests for nitrogen oxide emissions.
The carmaker has admitted to fitting 11 million diesel engines worldwide with the rogue software, triggering both regulatory and criminal investigations in a range of countries, including Germany.
But on November 3, the auto giant sank deeper into crisis after it revealed an internal probe had uncovered “inconsistencies” on carbon emissions as well, affecting not only diesel engines but petrol engines, too.
It said that the 1.4, 1.6 and 2.0 litre motors of VW, Skoda, Audi and Seat vehicles were affected and these cars had been found to be releasing more CO2 than previous tests had shown.
But the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that fewer than 40,000 cars were actually affected.
Customers would not have to have their vehicle documentation altered and the cars could continue to drive normally, the newspaper said.
VW’s initial estimate that the carbon emission scandal could cost it as much as 2.0 billion euros was also redundant and the real costs would be much lower, it added.
VW is scheduled to hold a news conference on Thursday on the fallout so far of the pollution-cheating scandal.