German car giant Volkswagen's French subsidiary manipulated sales figures for years to present an unrealistically positive picture to central management, news weekly Der Spiegel reported on Friday.
From 2010 onwards, around 800,000 cars from the Volkswagen brand as well as its Audi, Seat, Skoda and commercial vehicles subsidiaries were listed as having been delivered before they were even registered to drive on Frenchroads, an auditors' report seen by the magazine recorded.
Some cars were not registered until months or years after they had been supposedly been handed over to customers. Since receiving the results of the internal investigation in April, VW chief Matthias Mueller has accepted the resignation of France head Jacques Rivoal -- although the group put his departure down to 'differences of opinion' at the time.
A Volkswagen spokeswoman refused to comment on 'internal documents' when contacted by AFP. As the world's most prolific carmaker with some 12brands, VW is the biggest importer of new privately-owned carsinto France, with a 13-percent market share in 2016 or around 260,000 registrations.