According to the German press VW now says that 11 million autos are involved which means every damn diesel they sold in the last six years, not only in the US.
Now, Eli is not a lawyer, Brian is, he ducked out for a cup of coffee tho, however if they could have met the emission standards without cheating they would have, which means VW is looking at replacing or paying for 11 million cars worldwide + fines. The Rabett understands that VfL Wolfsburg will be selling off some players in the winter.
Something additional. The VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn recently won a struggle for control with the then Chair of the Supervisory Board, Ferdinand Piech, a member of the Porsche family who still own a large share of the company. To understand VW, one also has to realize that another large share of the company is owned by the State of Lower Saxony. Piech was unhappy with the progress Winterkorn had made in the US market, which brings a certain irony to what is happening.
On top of everything, a special session of the board had been called for Friday to extend Winterkorn's contract, but Eli would recommend him staying away from any open windows
More: Brad Plummer at Vox has a useful description of how the cheating was done
The problem was only uncovered by an independent group, the International Council on Clean Transportation, which wanted to investigate why there was such a discrepancy between laboratory tests and real-road performance for several of VW's diesel cars in Europe. So they worked with researchers at West Virginia University, who stuck a probe up the exhaust pipe of VW's clean diesel cars and drove them from San Diego to Seattle.Note how this fits in with the Piech/Winterkorn blow up at VW. Winterkorn knew what thin ice he was on and deceived the board. If they had known at the time it is likely that he would have been the one falling over the edge.
What the researchers found was shocking. On the road, VW's Jetta was emitting 15 to 35 times as much nitrogen oxide as the allowable limit. The VW Passat was emitting 5 to 20 times as much. These cars were emitting much more pollution than they had in the labs.
In May 2014, both California's air-pollution regulator and the EPA ordered Volkswagen to investigate and fix the problem, and the company claimed that it had done so. Once again, the cars performed well in testing, but real-world performance still didn't match up. At that point, EPA regulators really started grilling Volkswagen about the discrepancy, even threatening not to approve the company's 2016 line of clean diesel cars. VW finally cracked and admitted the existence of these defeat devices, which had been carefully hidden in the software code. Scandal ensued.