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Literally meaning "people's car", Volkswagen have managed (so far) to alienate a vast majority of their current and potential customer base in what is being referred to as "the diesel dupe".

The German automobile manufacturer has admitted to cheating emissions tests within the US by fitting more than 11 million of their vehicles with what is being called the 'defeat device'. While it isn't currently clear on exactly how the device works it is currently believed to be able to detect when the vehicle is in a test environment and when it is on the road.

When in a test environment the defeat device uses computer software to alter the engine's power and performance causing it to run well below normal use, thus giving out better readings. Then once the vehicles were back on the open road the engines would switch over from this test mode to offer their real-world performance, resulting in nitrogen oxide pollutants that were up to 40 times above what is allowed in the US.

The defeat device was found by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the US and Volkswagen have immediately come clean, holding up their hands about the deception.

Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn has issued a personal apology for having “broken the trust of our customers and the public” as well as VW America boss Michael Horn admitting, "We've totally screwed up".