U.S. regulators broaden Volkswagen diesel probe

Last Updated Nov 20, 2015 4:45 PM EST

Volkswagen's emission troubles have broadened.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said that the probe now involves all Volkswagen and Audi models with a larger 3.0-liter diesel engine from model years 2009 through 2016. The German automaker told U.S. regulators that emissions issues in larger luxury cars and SUVs extend to another 85,000 vehicles dating back to 2009, the EPA said.

Before Friday, the EPA's investigation involved only some of the larger-engine models from VW, Audi and Porsche from 2014-2016, along with 482,000 vehicles with 2-liter diesel engines from the 2009-2015 model years.

"The most unfortunate aspect of this news, in addition to the environmental harm, is that it slows VW's ability to move beyond the negative headlines and start the rebuilding process," Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in an email. "You can't recover from a scandal while it's still growing. You have to reach a point where everything is on the table and no more bad news is coming -- then you can start repairing the damage."

The federal agency issued its statement after Volkswagen and Audi officials said in a meeting Thursday the technology in the newer cars was also in models dating back to 2009.

The German automaker has a deadline Friday on giving California officials a plan to fix the 482,000 vehicles that it acknowledges were outfitted with devices to cheat pollution tests.

"We expect to receive the recall plan today," Stanley Young, communications director at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said in an email.

Volkswagen will reduced spending by 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) in 2016 and "strictly prioritize" investments as it readies to contend with the ongoing fallout from the scandal, CEO Michael Mueller said in a statement Friday.

"What we definitely won't do is make cuts at the expense of our future," said Mueller.

Among other things, he said Volkswagen would postpone the building of a new design center in Wolfsburg, Germany, and the introduction of an all-electric Phaeton sedan, and review other projects.