Volkswagen sorry for testing exhaust fumes on monkeys
The controversy over Volkswagen's (VW) diesel-emissions cheating took another twist when the carmaker apologised for a test that exposed monkeys to engine fumes to study effects of the exhaust.
The company said the study, conducted by a research and lobby group set up by VW, Daimler, BMW and Robert Bosch, was a mistake.
The 'New York Times' reported about a 2014 trial in a US laboratory in which 10 monkeys inhaled diesel emissions from a VW Beetle.
"We apologise for the misconduct and the lack of judgment of individuals," Wolfsburg, Germany-based VW, said in a statement.
"We're convinced the scientific methods chosen then were wrong. It would have been better to do without such a study in the first place."
The revelations show the rocky road for Volkswagen as it emerges from its biggest crisis after the 2015 bombshell that the company installed emissions-cheating software in some 11 million diesel vehicles to dupe official tests.
They also do little to help the poor public perception of the technology, under scrutiny for high pollution levels in many European cities.
In an additional twist, the Beetle model used in the test was among the vehicles that were rigged to conform to test limits, the 'New York Times' reported.
Daimler said separately it would start an investigation into the study ordered by the European Scientific Study Group for the environment, health and transport sector.
BMW also distanced itself from the trial, saying it had taken no part in its design and methods. Bosch said it left the group in 2013. The study group, financed equally by the three carmakers, ceased activities last year and the project wasn't completed, VW said.
"We believe the animal tests in this study were unnecessary and repulsive," Daimler said in a statement. "We explicitly distance ourselves from the study."
Despite the emissions scandal, Volkswagen's global deliveries rose to a fresh record last year, due to robust customer demand.
That performance enabled it to stay ahead of Japanese rival Toyota as the world's top car seller. Worldwide sales of VW cars, trucks and buses came to 10.7 million vehicles in 2017.