VW's commercial vehicles unit has said 1.8 million commercial vehicles are affected by the software cheat. Germany's economy minister said a negative impact on Europe's largest economy can be avoided if VW acts fast.
Guenther Scherelis, spokesperson for Volkswagen's (VW) commercial vehicles unit, on Tuesday confirmed a report by the German daily newspaper "Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung" (HAZ) that around 1.8 million of its vehicles are affected by emissions-rigging software.
Light commercial vehicles, including vans and pickups, were also included in the figure.
The announcement comes as VW's Spanish subsidiary SEAT said at least 700,000 of its vehicles contained the EA 189 diesel engine, which is said to be affected by the engine software.
SEAT and Volkswagen-Audi Spain on Tuesday suspended sales of all commercial vehicles fitted with the compromised engine, affecting around 3,320 vehicles in its stock.
At least 11 million diesel vehicles are said to contain the software, which activates emissions controls when it detects that it is being tested, subsequently shutting off controls when the car is back on the road.
Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) set an October 7 deadline for VW to put forth a technical action plan to ensure that the company's vehicles comply with national emissions standards.
On Tuesday, Europe's largest automaker said it "will inform customers and arrange the necessary appointments" in the coming weeks to refit the vehicles and bring them in line with emissions standards.
"We will present our technical solutions to the authorities in October," said the company's newly-appointed CEO, Matthias Mueller.
Playing down negative economic side-effects, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters on Tuesday that the scandal would not impact Germany's economy if VW acted swiftly and effectively.
"It's up to the politicians to try to ensure that the jobs of the company's 600,000 global employees…are not at risk," Gabriel said.
The auto industry is the largest sector of the German economy, employing nearly 800,000 people between VW, Daimler and BMW.
ls/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)