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Another one to add to the “dieselgate” saga – after Volkswagen admitted that up to 800,000 vehicles in Europe have been provided with falsified carbon dioxide emissions data, German newspaper Bild am Sonntag now reports the sordid details as to how engineers within the company cheated in-house tests to gain better emissions and fuel economy numbers – and with it, lower the tax imposed on the cars.

One engineer opened up to Wolfsburg regarding some of the manipulation techniques employed by the employees, which include raising the tyre pressures beyond 3.5 bar, as well as mixing diesel into the engine oil in order to improve engine operation and reduce fuel consumption.

As Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) only used manufacturer-supplied data – it doesn’t do actual emissions testing like the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the doctored figures were freely accepted.

The latest scandal sparked from now-resigned CEO Martin Winterkorn‘s audacious target – announced at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show – to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% in 2015. The engineers claimed it wasn’t possible to achieve that goal through legal means, but feared punishment from the top brass for underperforming, so they began to rig the tests – apparently as early as 2013.

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Volkswagen’s BlueMotion range of supposedly cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles was particularly hard hit by the engineers’ manipulation of data – the Polo BlueMotion presented the biggest inconsistency, producing 18% higher carbon dioxide emissions than the stated figure, while Golf models emitted as much as 15% more CO2 than officially claimed.

Since the fraud was made clear by the engineer, the company confirmed the inconsistencies, after which CEO Matthias Müller and chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch delivered the news personally to German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin. Müller is also said to have championed for a new, more open corporate culture since taking office in September, with less fear of punishment from the top management.

As previously reported, the inconsistencies in CO2 emissions will affect the taxes owners will have to pay for their vehicles, but Volkswagen has already said it will be working on paying the difference rather than having customers foot the bill.

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