The automaker allegedly created a fictitious energy efficiency class.
The German Environmental Aid Association is accusing Volkswagen of tampering with the energy efficiency graph that is assigned to all new cars.
Similar graphs have been applied to household appliances for years but they are only mandatory for cars since December 1st, 2011. Their purpose is to give a rating that goes from A+ (efficient) to G (inefficient) based on how much CO2 a vehicle puts out per kilometer and are displayed on both window stickers and manufacturers' websites.
The Phaeton powered by the 335 horsepower 4.2 V8 emits 290 grams of CO2 per kilometer, which ranks it in the "G" category. However, the corresponding graph displayed on Volkswagen's German website showed an extra category at the bottom labeled as "H".
The German Environmental Aid Association claims that Volkswagen deliberately tampered with the graph to make it look like the Phaeton was not dead last.
Following the accusation, Volkswagen immediately issued the following statement: "for this error, we apologize to our customers. But we reject the allegation of a conscious consumer deception".
The group added that it was a "regrettable mistake" and that the graphs showing an H category were only displayed on its German website, not in dealer showrooms or on other countries' websites. The graph has since been removed and replaced with a correct one.
Several weeks ago, Volkswagen was involved in another tampering scandal involving its press fleet but cleared itself of all allegations.
1.'Schlechter geht's nicht...' view