AP Photo/Michael SohnA second act in Volkswagen’s massive emissions scandal just began.
Late Tuesday night, VW Group announced that the company had identified “irregularities in CO2 levels” that emerged as part of internal investigations.
As many as 800,000 vehicles could be affected across the entire group, according to the release.
Shares are getting crushed in early European trading, falling by as much as 10%, pushing the price below €100 at times. An hour and a half after trading began, shares have settled to be down by around 8%.
The previous finding, revealed by the US Environmental Protection Agency in September, related to nitrogen oxide, a different emission that can be extremely harmful to humans but is less of a driver of climate change.
The announcement late on Tuesday relates to carbon dioxide, the main pollutant associated with global warming. It’s not clear whether it relates to precisely the same issue — the use of illegal cheating software designed to game environmental emission tests required for all carmakers.
Here’s what Volkswagen says in its own words:
Under the ongoing review of all processes and workflows in connection with diesel engines it was established that the CO2 levels and thus the fuel consumption figures for some models were set too low during the CO2 certification process. The majority of the vehicles concerned have diesel engines.
The financial cost to the company isn’t clear yet.
Volkswagen puts an initial estimate of “economic risks” at approximately €2 billion (£1.42 billion).
Analysts at Credit Suisse show how that implies a cost of “€2,500 per car vs. c.€609 per car provisioned for Diesel so far.”
The note from Credit Suisse goes on (emphasis ours):
At this point the financial impact from today’s release is unclear, as only limited details have been provided. However, given that that provisions per vehicle are 4.1x higher versus the NOx issue, the magnitude could be much bigger in scale. In our view, today’s announcement could concern those who believe that the economic impact is manageable and more than priced in post the drop in share price.
And here’s how the share price looks:
In the third quarter, the company made its first loss in 15 years, and it seems things could still get worse for Volkswagen.
Volkswagen shares dropped by 1.51% in trading on Tuesday after earlier bad news from the EPA — the regulators found another 10,000 vehicles on cars with larger diesel engines that had contained the same cheating software.
The share price had tumbled by more than half since earlier this year, even before Tuesday’s news