LAS VEGAS – The CEO of Volkswagen AG (ETR: VOW3), Herbert Diess, declared Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show that the German firm is having positive results after discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board regarding CO2 emissions scandal.
The company admitted in November last year that millions of cars worldwide had been equipped with software that made them perfect to cheat at pollution tests. The software is programmed to turn emissions controls on during regulatory tests and turn them off on real roads. The cars affected included diesel vehicles, SUVs sold since the 2009 model year, and some recent diesel models that were sold by Audi and Porsche, brands owned by VW.
Volkswagen’s top executive declared it was very likely that the U.S. environmental regulators would soon approve fixes for diesel engines that cheat on emissions tests.
“I’m optimistic that we will find a solution, we will bring a package together which satisfies our customers first and foremost and then also the regulators,” Diess said.
However, the EPA said in a statement on Wednesday that discussions with VW “have not produced an acceptable forward”. The regulator declared it will insist on the idea of making VW come up with “effective appropriate remedies as expeditiously as possible at no cost to owners.”
Even though European regulators have approved fixes for 8.5 million cheating cars in the continent, American regulators are stricter because the 600,000 U.S. vehicles emit up to 40 times more toxic nitrogen oxide than permitted. There are 11 million cheating cars around the world. Repairs in Europe are due to begin this month and most cars are expected to be fixed this year.
Fixes in the United States will probably include complex recalls and they are likely to take several years, especially for some of the older models.
The U.S. Justice Department has sued the German automaker over emissions-cheating software. It could expose VW to more than $200 billion in fines for violating the federal Clean Air Act. Moreover, the company could also face significant civil penalties based on the facts that will be determined at trial. In addition, the firm and its directors could face criminal charges; all added to private class-action lawsuits filed by VW owners.
Diess spoke as Volkswagen released a new concept of an electric-powered Microbus, which could go into production in 2019. Named as “BUDD-e”, the eco-friendly vehicle has a futuristic style of the 1960’s era. The CEO began the presentation at the CES with an apology for the gas emissions scandal; reassuring American customers that the company was doing everything it could to repair the damage.
Source: ABC News