(credit: Thomas Hawk)

The US Department of Justice has sued Volkswagen Group (PDF) in a Michigan District Court on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), alleging that the automaker installed illegal defeat devices on almost 600,000 diesel passenger vehicles.
The lawsuit is the latest chapter in the fallout since the EPA published a notice of violation in September accusing Volkswagen of installing software on many of its diesel vehicles that would stop the car’s emissions control system from working properly during normal driving, but engage the emissions control system while the car was being tested in a lab, effectively helping Volkswagen cheat air quality regulators in the US.
A press release from the EPA said that approximately 499,000 diesel cars with 2.0 liter engines were found to have defeat devices, and some 85,000 cars with 3.0 liter engines were similarly implicated. The complaint filed by the Department of Justice suggests that the software to defeat the emissions control system in 2.0 and 3.0 liter cars was slightly different, however.
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