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Fresh accusations drag Porsche into VW emissions cheating scandal

Still very much dealing with the fallout from the emissions scandal, Volkswagen has now been hit with fresh allegations claiming it also rigged tests on thousands of six-cylinder diesel engines in Porsche, Audi, and VW cars. The initial wrongdoing concerned four-cylinder engines in smaller diesel vehicles.

The latest accusation, made on Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency, focuses on certain diesel cars made in the last couple of years, namely the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5.

While the German automaker has already admitted to rigging tests on millions of other diesel cars around the world with around half a million of those on U.S. roads, it rejects the EPA’s latest accusation and is now preparing a full response.

Porsche – like Audi a division of the VW Group – said in a statement it was “surprised” by the EPA’s latest allegation, adding, “Until this notice, all of our information was that the Porsche Cayenne diesel is fully compliant.”

And as pointed out by the BBC, this latest revelation could prove sticky for VW’s new boss, Matthias Mueller, who was CEO at Porsche before moving to VW to sort out the crisis.

Related: Bosch reportedly warned Volkswagen about illegal emissions software in 2007

The scandal erupted in September after VW was caught using sophisticated “defeat device” software on its diesel cars to cheat emissions tests. The software enables a vehicle to detect when it’s being tested for emissions so that it can control its pollutant output. Outside of the tests, the four-cylinder engines have been pumping out pollutants up to 40 times above accepted levels, and around nine times in the six-cylinder engines. VW claims several rogue engineers were responsible for the software.

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The EPA said Monday’s Clean Air Act violation notice covers around 10,000 diesel passenger cars currently on U.S roads. The figure may seem small in comparison with the 11 million or so vehicles already caught up in the scandal, but if the agency is proved right, it’d show the software was used more widely than first thought, a situation that’d likely lead to even bigger fines and additional lawsuits for the Wolfsburg-based car giant.

Commenting on its move to issue a second “notice of violation,” the EPA’s Cynthia Giles said in a release, “VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans,” adding, “All companies should be playing by the same rules. EPA, with our state, and federal partners, will continue to investigate these serious matters, to secure the benefits of the Clean Air Act, ensure a level playing field for responsible businesses, and to ensure consumers get the environmental performance they expect.”

VW is expected to deal directly with these fresh allegations in the coming days.