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Switzerland Suspends Sales of Volkswagen Diesel Vehicles

Greenpeace activists hold banners reading "No more lies" as they stand on top of Volkswagen cars in front of VW's "Sandkamp" gate in Wolfsburg, Germany, Sept. 25, 2015.

Switzerland said Saturday that it was suspending the sale of Volkswagen diesel vehicles most likely equipped with software capable of cheating environmental tests.

The announcement followed the German automaker’s revelation that 11 million vehicles worldwide were fitted with the software, which can switch pollution controls on during emissions tests but shut them off during normal driving.

The Swiss ban could potentially affect up to 180,000 cars made by Volkswagen's Audi, SEAT, Skoda and VW brands between 2009 and 2014.

Regulators and prosecutors in several countries are investigating the fake emissions tests.

Friday, Volkswagen appointed Matthias Mueller as its new chief executive officer. Mueller, 62, who headed Volkswagen's Porsche subsidiary, pledged to help the automaker get through the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history.

The scandal began September 18 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Volkswagen had equipped about a half-million diesel cars in the United States with the software.

In the U.S., several lawsuits have already been filed against the automaker. U.S. environmental regulators say Volkswagen faces fines of up to $18 billion.