Volkswagen said Tuesday that 11 million of its cars around the world are equipped with technology that cheats emissions tests. That admission comes just a few days after the Obama administration accused the German car company of outfitting almost 500,000 cars sold in the U.S. with so-called “defeat devices.”
The EPA said some Volkswagen cars with diesel engines were able to detect when they were undergoing an emissions test and reduce their output to pass such tests. At times, the vehicles surpassed legal pollution limits by as much as 40 times, according to the New York Times.
The massive reach of Volkswagen’s error will be costly for the company. Already, it has set aside $7.3 billion to pay for fixes to the affected vehicles. The company is also facing what could be up to $18 billion in fines from the EPA, as well as potential consumer lawsuits.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is scheduled to meet with the company’s board to renew his contract this week. On Sunday, he issued a statement saying he was “deeply sorry” for the deception.
“We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused,” he said.