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VW to cut thousands of office jobs in Germany

Scandal-hit German carmaker VW looks likely to slash thousands of office jobs in its home country. The measure will be part of a larger savings program as litigation and compensation costs keep hitting the company.

VW insiders told Reuters on Thursday that the carmaker was planning to cut about 3,000 office jobs in Germany by the end of 2017 as the company strove

to offset the costs of its emissions test-rigging scandal.

VW employs about 120,000 workers at its western German plants and its financial services division, with about a third of those being office positions.

"The Volkswagen brand has initiated an efficiency program that is affecting all areas, including personnel costs," VW said in a statement.

The company also aims to shed hundreds of temporary jobs and cease unprofitable models in a bid to reduce costs in the wake of its pollution scandal.

Watch video 01:26

VW say employees could suffer because of emissions scandal

Software in the crosshairs

AFP news agency reported Thursday VW's diesel engine manipulations had been bigger than originally thought.

Citing journalists from Germany's NDR and WDR public TV networks and the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" daily newspaper, the agency said engine-controlling software manipulations were stepped up even after the Californian clean air agency, CARB, had started noticing VW's emissions irregularities.

VW updated its test-rigging software, they said, making it even more sophisticated and enabling it to better identify whether cars were on the road or being tested in the lab.

The report by the journalists suggested that VW engineers improved the software above all to make sure cars did not switch to the lab-testing mode by mistake while being on the road as such a switch caused soot particle filters to wear themselves out much faster.

hg/cjc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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