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Report: Volkswagen Official Outlined Emissions Cheating In 2006

The New York Times reported that investigations uncovered a 2006 PowerPoint presentation about how to manipulate the software used to control diesel engines.

A Volkswagen technology official outlined a method to skirt U.S. emissions limits nearly a decade before the scandal over its diesel vehicles inundated the German automaker.

The New York Times, citing two sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, reported Tuesday that investigations into the company uncovered a 2006 PowerPoint presentation about manipulating the software used to control VW diesel engines.

The presentation was crafted after VW engineers noted that newly developed diesel engines wouldn't hold up under stricter U.S. emissions standards. It explained how software could be tweaked to recognize patterns in emissions tests — and dramatically cut emissions levels — before reverting to higher levels during normal driving conditions.

The Times report said it was unclear how widely the 2006 presentation was circulated, but said that company officials repeatedly rejected efforts to fix the software in subsequent years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uncovered the emissions cheating in September, and court documents reviewed by the Times suggested that VW long underestimated the potential impact of the scandal.

VW has denied allegations that top executives knew of the scandal, although it acknowledged last month that then-CEO Martin Winterkorn received a memo about emissions concerns in May 2014 as part of his "extensive weekend mail." VW instead blamed a group of lower-level employees "whose identity is still being determined."

Under a settlement reached with the EPA last week, Volkswagen will repair or buy back more than 500,000 affected vehicles in the U.S. The automaker last week reported a record quarterly loss due to a charge of more than $18 billion set aside to address the scandal.

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