In the aftermath of Volkswagen's "clean diesel" scandal, the police raided the German automaker's headquarters on Friday in France and Italy, just when VW began to focus on its next-generation electric car, the Phaeton, the International Business Times reported.
The VW emissions scandal revealed that the company installed engine software that directed the engine to emit the legal level of emissions when tested, but the German cars really released up to 35 times the allowed levels of nitrous oxides during daily driving.
On Tuesday, Oct. 13, the Volkswagen Group announced that it was realigning its priorities in wake of the diesel scandal. VW will turn its flagship Phaeton into a high-end, battery-powered luxury sedan, IBT reported.
On Friday, Oct. 16, the French police searched the VW France headquarters, where about 950,000 cars have the software that allows the diesel engines to cheat emissions tests, reported CNN Money. On the same day, an Italian prosecutor led a raid at Lamborghini, which is a branch of Volkswagen, in its Bologna headquarters.
The Italian consumer rights group Codacons filed a fraud suit on behalf of 12,000 Italian VW owners, according to the Daily News and Analysis.
"Our case is that there has been fraud committed at the expense of consumers. If the police establish there has been illegal activity it will further strengthen our suit," Codacons said in a statement.
In an effort to clean up its emissions-cheating scandal, the German car maker said a new, fully electric luxury Phaeton sedan is on its way, according to IBT. The all electric Phaeton originally debuted in 2002. The new luxury electric vehicle will include an all-electric drivetrain.
Volkswagen also announced that it will release gas-electric, plug-in hybrids in the coming years.