1.2 million UK Volkswagen vehicles hit by emissions cheating scandal

Approximately 1.2 million cars on British roads will have to be fixed as part of the Volkswagen Group's emissions testing failures.

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Volkswagen has revealed roughly 1.2 million vehicles sold to British customers are laden with the emissions standards avoiding software at the heart of a recent scandal, and will have to be repaired.

On Wednesday, the German automaker said over half a million Volkswagen passenger cars, almost 400,000 VW-branded Audi vehicles, roughly 76,000 SEATs and over 131,000 Skoda models are affected.

In addition, almost 80,000 commercial Volkswagen vehicles on British shores will have to be recalled and fixed.

Earlier this month, the automaker was forced to recall 482,000 vehicles in the United States following a report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which accused the company of using software to cheat clean air emission laws.

The software, known as a "defeat device," ensured that vehicles met emissions standards in laboratory and test environments, but not in normal driving circumstances. This software was built into diesel vehicles manufactured between 2009 and 2015.

It is believed approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide have been sold with the software, which will likely lead to additional recalls -- whether set formally or not -- as well as class action lawsuits and fines.

Volkswagen group emphasises the software is not a safety issue, and due to this the firm may not be forced to issue a formal recall.

However, the scandal has already cost the automaker dear -- with share prices plummeting -- and more is to come. If the automaker is fined in the United States, for example, the firm may have to pay up to $37,500 fine per vehicle -- a potential total of $18 billion in one country alone.

Switzerland has already banned the sale of Volkswagen-branded vehicles pending an investigation and other countries including Canada, Germany, South Korea, India and Australia are launching their own investigations, among others.

Former CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned after the scandal hit the media and is succeeded by former Porsche chief Matthias Mueller.

Volkswagen says that in the coming days, the vehicle identification numbers of rigged cars will be released to retailers and a self-checking service for customers is also rapidly being set up. Vehicles impacted by the defeat devices will need to be returned to vendors in the near future for repairs.

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