Report: VW execs 'knew' about fuel economy issues last year

New allegations from German paper Bild

Dirty VW Beetle in Sleeper

Volkswagen's top executives are alleged to have had knowledge that its cars were not as fuel efficient as it claimed a year ago, according to a news report.

German Sunday paper Bild am Sonntag has claimed that VW pulled the Poloi TDI BlueMotion earlier this year after an 18 per cent discrepancy between its stated fuel economy and its actual performance was discovered. VW has responded to the accusation by claiming it is "pure speculation" and that investigations are ongoing. The company explained that the model was pulled as there was less demand.

However, Bild claimed otherwise, and said that top executives at VW had known about similar issues with a range of the company's automobiles for roughly a year.

The paper, which did not cite its sources, also suggested engineers had admitted to the board that they had used several methods to cheat on emissions values, and that they had claimed the firm's CEO's public promise of a 30 per cent emissions decline provoked them to cheat on the tests.

Former CEO Martin Winterkorn reluctantly quit as chief exec in September, stating: "I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part."

Winterkorn came under investigation by the state attorney shortly thereafter, although he has continued to deny any knowledge of emissions cheating or the so-called "defeat device" which affected US models. ®

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