When the news of Volkswagen's emissions cheating scandal first broke last month, the automaker said that 11 million vehicles were affected worldwide.
By the end of September, the embattled auto manufacturer even said it plans to refit up to 11 million cars and earlier this month, VW targeted January as the start date and late 2016 as the projected end to its massive recall.
But on Thursday in Frankfurt, Volkswagen announced that it's investigating whether significantly more vehicles than the originally-reported 11 million were affected by its manipulated software. The New York Times is reporting that VW is investigating whether other software versions of its diesel motor line — the EA 288 — also had emissions cheating capabilities in their vehicles.
Previously, the diesel motor line, EA 189, accounted for the 11 million affected cars. If the EA 288 motor line is found to also have been manipulated, that 11 million could substantially swell, throwing off the automaker's already-massive recall plans and creating further trudge in what has been the worst crisis in the 78-year history of Volkswagen.
When the Times reached out to the company, Volkswagen wouldn't comment on how many more vehicles might be affected. However, the newspaper learned that vehicles in the EA 288 motor line in question include the top-selling Golf since 2012. Since it's VW's best-seller, it could mean that the additional number of affected vehicles could easily be in the millions.
VW CEO Matthias Mueller has already upped the projected cost of the recall to $7.4 billion and that number could skyrocket that much further if more vehicles are implicated in the emissions scandal. That figure is just for the recall, which could entail a software update for many cars or vehicles needing new parts. Mueller hasn't even ruled out replacing cars with new ones, altogether.
The recall costs don't include regulatory fines and potential lawsuit payouts to drivers that might await Volkswagen.