Porsche is under investigation by the German transport ministry and transport authorities to find out whether the brand was involved in the ongoing emissions scandal, according to German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
WirtschaftsWoche (Business Week in German) reported that insiders at Porsche tipped off authorities to the possibility, leading to a full investigation into whether Porsche is implicated in the scandal.
It’s alleged that Porsche used a system that manipulates the car’s emissions based on how much steering input is detected; the standard emissions test requires no input, so if the system detects no steering input but lots of accelerator use, a special lower emissions mode is selected by the system.
A similar system was discovered to be in use by Audi, in which automatic gearboxes were believed to manipulate emissions by tweaking their action when a test situation was detected by the system. The subsequent investigation led Audi's then head of research and development, Stefan Knirsch, to resign from his position, which he had held for only nine months.
A Porsche UK spokesman said: "We are in close contact with KBA and will continue co-operating fully with them concerning all emissions related topics. Steering input is not used in any Porsche model to recognise any emissions test cycle. Our vehicles meet the regulatory requirements with regard to fuel consumption and emissions which were valid at the time of approval."
Holding company faces legal action too
Last month a quarterly report published by Porsche SE - the holding company that owns majority shares in Volkswagen - revealed that more than £756 million has been put aside for lawsuits surrounding the ongoing emissions scandal. In total, 152 lawsuits have been served on Porsche SE by the court of Stuttgart. However, at the time a Porsche UK spokesman said: “Porsche SE considers all actions to be without merit and those filed at Braunschweig Court to also be legally insufficient.”
The spokesman was also keen to distance Porsche's vehicle operations from Porsche SE's business operations at VW. He explained that Porsche SE's status as a holding company and majority shareholder of Volkswagen meant that it was not involved in any vehicle operations.