Volkswagen has been accused of selling almost 7,000 pre-production cars to consumers instead of destroying like the law requires. German newspaper Handelsblatt first reported the news.
This is a big deal given that pre-prod cars aren’t authorized for use by authorities on public roads. The news deals another blow to Volkswagen’s reputation which was already tarnished following the diesel emissions scandal of 2015.
Most of the vehicles would have been sold in Europe and specifically Germany, but some models could have also made their way to North America. They would have been sold between 2007 and 2018, and it appears from early reports that Volkswagen was aware of the issue as early as 2016.
Pre-production cars are used for testing and events before official production begins. The cars aren’t certified for road use.
Volkswagen is now recalling the 6,700 cars in question. The automaker says no accidents or issues have been reported, but wants to ascertain how different the pre-production models are from the certified production versions according to Handelsblatt.
Back in 2015, Volkswagen was accused of rigging over 11 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide in order to pass emissions testing. For now the pre-production semi-scandal pales in comparison, but we should remember that Dieselgate progressively got worst and the number of affected models increased as well.