Norway's economic crimes police unit has opened an investigation into German car manufacturer Volkswagen, against the backdrop of the scandal of rigging gas emission figures produced by diesel-powered vehicles.

"In light of the so-called Volkswagen affair in the US and Europe, where (the company) has admitted extensive cheating, Okokrim wants to investigate whether any crime has been committed in Norway and whether the fraud has had any effect on the cars imported to this country," the economic crimes unit said in a statement.

Norwegian police will conduct the probe with the support of the customs authorities and the highways agency.

Earlier this week, Volkswagen admitted that there are some 11 million diesel-powered vehicles worldwide with controversial engines, in which authorities in the United States detected software that can deceive emissions tests.

As a result, Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday following the news of the scandal, as he considered that the German giant automotive manufacturer needs a "fresh start", despite not being aware of any wrongdoing.