The UK’s transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has called on the European Union to conduct an investigation into whether cars have been fitted with emissions test “cheat devices”.
The move was prompted after German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt confirmed that Volkswagen Group's emissions scandal does extend to European models.
A statement to reporters of mainstream media outlets by Dobrindt said a government commission has been set up to investigate the scandal and confirmed VW has spoken with the German government to admit “vehicles in Europe with 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel engines were also affected by the manipulations”.
He said: "We will therefore continue to work intensively, together with Volkswagen, to find out exactly which vehicles are involved, in order to inform the public further."
Dobrindt also confirmed other manufacturers would be investigated with spot checks on how they have calculated their emissions.
McLoughlin said: “The government takes the unacceptable actions of VW extremely seriously. My priority is to protect the public as we go through the process of investigating what went wrong and what we can do to stop it happening again in the future.
“We have called on the EU to conduct a Europe wide investigation into whether there is evidence that cars here have been fitted with defeat devices.
“In the meantime we are taking robust action. The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), the UK regulator, is working with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that this issue is not industry wide.
“As part of this work they will re-run laboratory tests where necessary and compare them against real world driving emissions.”
The VCA has not confirmed what a fair "real-world" test to compare against laboratory tests would involve or how long it will take to start the investigations.
McLoughlin said: "The UK has pressed for the earliest introduction of the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test and the current issue reinforces my view that we must finalise these measures urgently and so set a clear obligation for vehicle manufacturers."
Regulatory emission limits are currently assessed on a standardised New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) lab test.
The new RDE procedure has been developed in technical groups composed of experts from the Commission, Member States and industry, and the precise emissions limits in the tests and from when they apply will be decided later this year. The new test is expected to be introduced by September 2017.