Volkswagen will look into allegations that it paid for tests in which humans and animals were exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles in a closed environment, the chair of the carmaker’s supervisory board said in an emailed statement Monday.
A New York Times article first alleged that a think tank co-funded by VW carried out a test in 2014 on 10 caged monkeys, in an attempt to prove that a Volkswagen Beetle vehicle was safe. Further allegations over the weekend argue that tests were also carried out on humans.
“The procedures must be fully and completely clarified,” said Hans Dieter Pötsch, the board’s chair.
He said VW, the world’s largest carmaker by volume, would “strongly distance” itself from the allegations and insisted the practices could not be traced back to the company. “Whoever has to take responsibility for it is, of course, accountable,” he said.
It is now up to VW’s management board to launch a probe following the supervisory board’s recommendation. Reuters reported today that Bernd Osterloh, boss of the company’s works council who also sits on the supervisory board, also wants a detailed investigation into the scandal.
“If the people who were responsible at the time are still on board, then personnel consequences must be considered,” Osterloh said.
A spokesperson for German Chancellor Angela Merkel also condemned the tests today, according to FAZ. “These tests on monkeys and humans cannot be justified ethically in any way,” the spokesperson said. The “outrage of many people is absolutely comprehensible.”