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A Porsche logo is seen outside a car dealer, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2020.

Yves Herman/Reuters

Germany’s motor vehicle authority KBA is investigating Volkswagen’s luxury sports vehicles unit Porsche AG over the suspected manipulation of petrol engines to achieve improved emissions data.

A KBA spokesman said on Monday the investigation involved petrol engines that Porsche produced for the European market before 2017.

Porsche had confirmed a newspaper report on Sunday that it had informed the authorities after internal investigations uncovered suspected irregularities.

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German prosecutors fined Porsche 535 million euros (483 million pounds) last year for lapses that allowed the company to cheat diesel emissions tests, but manipulation has not yet been proven for petrol engines.

A Porsche spokesman on Sunday said the issues related to vehicles developed several years ago, adding there were no indications that current production was affected. The carmaker was working closely with authorities, he added.

Bild am Sonntag weekly had reported that the investigation was focused on engines developed between 2008 and 2013, including those of the Panamera and 911 models, with suspected illegal changes to hardware and software that could affect exhaust systems and engine components.

The paper also said that apart from discussions with employees, evidence was also being sought in the minutes of company meetings and hundreds of thousands of emails.

A spokesman for Audi, Volkswagen’s premium division, said there were no indications that the issues identified at Porsche also existed with regard to Audi components.

“Audi AG is constantly and continuously reviewing technical and regulatory aspects of various vehicle types,” the spokesman said in emailed comments.

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