Volkswagen: ‘Our Plan is to Fix the Cars’

By Jesse Sokolow on 9 October 2015
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DSC_0597In the course of testifying before a congressional committee on Thursday, the head of Volkswagen in the United States came under fire and apologized repeatedly for having deceived U.S. regulators and customers about the level of emissions from its diesel-powered automobiles, but he added little in terms of explaining what had taken place at the Wolfsburg-based automaker.

“You haven’t revealed how the defeat device affects the engine, why it was installed and how it was able to evade emissions tests,” said Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado. “You haven’t revealed when and how the engines equipped with this defeat device will be fixed. And you haven’t told us whether that fix will affect the fuel economy or performance of the vehicles.”

The committee wanted to know what Volkswagen’s plans were but CEO Michael Horn was unable to offer details.

“Our plan is not to buy back the inventory,” he said. “Our plan is to fix the cars,” although he offered little specifics on what this would entail or how long it would take beyond that the work on most of the 480,000 cars that were sold in the United States would be a “major fix” that involved replacing parts and providing updated software. The repair could take as long as ten hours per vehicle and the work might not start until 2016.

“I did not think that something like this was possible at the Volkswagen Group,” said Horn. “We have broken the trust of our customers, dealerships and employees, as well as the public and regulators.” He did state that he

was apprised of “a possible emissions noncompliance” with emissions regulations a few days before regulators were informed of the matter.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)