BERLIN (Reuters) -- Volkswagen Group plans to recall up to 11 million vehicles globally, including 5 million VW brand vehicles, as it tries to address the scandal over its admission that it cheated U.S. diesel emissions tests.
VW said it is working on technical steps to refit diesel cars that contained illegal emission-control software. The automaker did not say how the planned refit would make cars with the "cheat" software comply with regulations, or how this might affect vehicles' fuel efficiency, which is an important consideration for customers.
Customers will be informed "in the next few weeks and months" about planned measures, the company said in a statement.
The recall will affect models fitted with group’s EA 189 diesel engines, including 5 million at VW brand, 2.1 million at Audi, 1.2 million at Skoda and 1.8 million light commercial vehicles. VW's Spanish unit, Seat, today said that 700,000 of its diesel models are affected.
VW has said that as many as 11 million vehicles have engines installed that carry the software capable of cheating emissions tests. New VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller said on Monday that the number of cars affected may be lower as the program is only activated in some of them.
Sales of vehicles with EA 189 engines are being halted in a growing number of European countries. Cars with the affected diesel engines are being pulled from markets including Spain, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, while prosecutors in Sweden are considering opening an investigation on potential corruption.
VW's Belgian importer, D'Ieteren, said it would offer engine upgrades to 800 customers who had ordered a vehicle with a diesel engine that was likely to have been fitted with illegal software. The importer said it would pay for the expected 2 million euros cost.
The German government has set an Oct. 7 deadline for Volkswagen to say how it will bring some 2.8 million diesels in its home market up to standard, threatening to pull the cars off the road if the carmaker fails to do so.
To inform customers, Volkswagen is looking into setting up websites in various countries so drivers can check on actions locally. The company has already set up a site in the U.S., where the scandal started.
“It’s going to depress their market share for a while, maybe even up to one to two years,” said Richard Gane, an automotive specialist at supply-chain consultancy Vendigital. “This is going to run and run.”
Bloomberg contributed to this report