Volkswagen's carbon emissions cheating affected 'far fewer cars than feared'

The Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN (REUTERS) - The number of cars whose carbon emissions Volkswagen understated is far fewer than feared, it said on Wednesday, providing some relief for the automaker as it battles a wider diesel-emissions scandal affecting 11 million cars worldwide.

Volkswagen said only about 36,000 vehicles were affected, far fewer than the 800,000 for which it said last month it had understated CO2 emissions and consequently their fuel usage.

"Only a small number of the model variants of new cars will have the catalogue (CO2) figure slightly adjusted," VW said.

Shares in Volkswagen jumped 5.6 per cent to 131.05 euros by 1213 GMT.

The crisis at Europe's largest automaker initially centered on software in diesel cars for which VW admitted it had understated their real emissions of nitrogen oxide.

On Nov. 3, VW said it had also falsified fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in petrol cars sold mainly in Europe, and was expecting costs of at least 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) including compensation payments to customers. "The negative impact on earnings... has not been confirmed," VW said. "Whether we will have a minor economic impact depends on the results of the remeasurement exercise."

NordLB analyst Frank Schope, who recommends selling the stock, said: "The scale of VW's problems appears to be declining."

VW's supervisory board is meeting on Wednesday to discuss the state of investigations into the malfeasances.

It will also hear from the top executive of its Audi unit what steps he plans to take to fix luxury diesel cars fitted with software found to have enabled its engines to evade U.S. emissions limits.

Consumers have been deterred from making purchases because of the CO2 cheating, works council chief Bernd Osterloh has said, adding to already falling demand for its cars in China and Latin America.

NordLB's Schope predicted the group's global sales would fall as much as 4 per cent worldwide next year in a market that looks set to grow by the same margin.