MUNICH -- Volkswagen Group has been given 10 days by European regulators to supply details of CO2 emissions irregularities in 800,000 cars sold in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported.
VW last week said it had understated CO2 emissions in VW, Seat and Skoda cars sold in Europe, widening a crisis that started after the automaker admitted installing "cheat" software that could fool tests for pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx).
The CO2 emissions disclosure is potentially more serious than the NOx deception because some European countries -- including Germany, France and the UK -- tie vehicle road taxes to CO2 emissions. The EU also sets fleet CO2 emissions targets for automakers. If VW's deception means it missed its target, the company could face EU penalties.
The EU's climate and energy commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, has written to VW CEO Matthias Mueller demanding information on which models and how many newly registered cars were affected by the irregularities and by how much emissions were understated, the Journal said in its report.
Canete also asked VW to notify the EU when it expects to update its vehicle documents with the correct CO2 emissions and demands replies to the questions within 10 days, the paper said.
VW has said it will foot the bill for extra taxes incurred by drivers as a result of the CO2 deception, adding about 2 billion euros in financial risk to the 6.7 billion euros it already set aside to fund product repairs arising from cheat software install in its diesels. Analysts said the final bill including fines and litigation costs could be 35 billion euros or more.
Fitch Ratings on Monday downgraded VW's credit rating to BBB+ from A, the third-lowest investment-grade scale, saying the cut reflects "corporate governance, management and internal control issues."
In the U.S., Volkswagen is offering offer owners of 2.0-liter diesel vehicles with illegal software $1,000 in what the company calls a "goodwill" gesture. The offer applies to U.S. customers only, VW told the German media.