Justice Department, EPA sue Volkswagen over emissions-cheating software

FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2015 file photo President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Michael Horn at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Volkswagen's top U.S.-based executive is expected to testify before Congress Thursday that he first learned in 2014 of emissions problems with the German automaker's diesel cars. But in prepared remarks, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn doesn't directly address when he was first told his company had developed on-board computer software designed to deceive emissions tests. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2015 file photo President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. Michael Horn at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Volkswagen's top U.S.-based executive is expected to testify before Congress Thursday that he first learned in 2014 of emissions problems with the German automaker's diesel cars. But in prepared remarks, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn doesn't directly address when he was first told his company had developed on-board computer software designed to deceive emissions tests. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal authorities are suing Volkswagen over emissions-cheating software found in nearly 600,000 vehicles sold in the United States.

The Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday filed a civil complaint against the German automaker in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

The lawsuit alleges the company illegally installed software designed to make its diesel engines pass federal emissions standards when undergoing laboratory testing. The vehicles then switched off those measures to boost performance in real-world driving conditions. That resulted in greenhouse gas emissions at up to 40 times federal environmental standards.

Volkswagen first admitted in September that the cheating software was included in its diesel cars sold since the 2009 model year. The company could still face separate criminal charges and is negotiating a massive recall with U.S. regulators.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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