Oliver Q
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Germany sets deadline for Volkswagen auto-fix plan

The German motor authority has given Volkswagen AG an Oct. 7 deadline to come up with a plan for fixing manipulated cars, as newspapers reported the company had been warned of an illegal use of emissions-related software.

"The Federal Motor Transport Authority has asked Volkswagen to provide a binding plan for measures and a schedule which makes clear, when a technical solution for the affected vehicles can be put into practice," said Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt on Sunday. The authority has set Oct. 7 as deadline for the plan, a spokesman for the ministry said, confirming a report in newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

The authority was responding to Volkswagen's use of software that helped some of its diesel-powered vehicles to get favorable test results. Volkswagen installed in some 11 million vehicles engine-management software that made bench-test emissions appear lower than they were on the road. The German car maker replaced its chief executive this week after the manipulation was discovered.

Robert Bosch GmbH delivered the software for test purposes and told Volkswagen in a letter in 2007 that the planned use would be illegal, according to Bild am Sonntag. Internal auditors at Volkswagen found the letter, the German newspaper writes.

A Volkswagen spokesman said the company wouldn't comment on rumors. A Bosch spokesman also declined to comment.

An employee had warned Volkswagen in 2011 that it could be illegal to use software that realizes when a car is being tested for emissions and reduces then engine performance, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reported. The employee's comments were mentioned in a report compiled by internal auditors, the newspaper reported, citing a member of the supervisory board.

Volkswagen's new chief executive, Matthias Müller, and works council head Bernd Osterloh have warned employees in a joint letter of challenges and vowed to improve compliance, Handelsblatt reported.

"Our company faces unprecedented challenges," they write in the first sentence of the letter, according to the newspaper.