Volkswagen apologises for emissions scandal
September 21, 2015, 3:53 pm

Volkswagen`s chief executive has said sorry after US regulators found some of its cars disguised pollution levels.

"I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public," Martin Winterkorn said.

He has launched an investigation into the device that allowed VW cars to emit less during tests than they would while driving normally.

The company`s shares were down 19% in Frankfurt by lunchtime.

VW has stopped selling the relevant diesel models in the US, where diesel cars account for about a quarter of sales.

The German carmaker was ordered to recall half a million cars on Friday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found the "defeat device" in diesel cars including the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

In addition to paying for the recall, VW faces fines that could add up to billions of dollars. There may also be criminal charges for VW executives.

The EPA said that the fine for each vehicle that did not comply with federal clean air rules would be up to $37,500 (£24,000). With 482,000 cars sold since 2008 involved in the allegations, it means the fines could reach $18bn.

That would be a considerable amount, even for the company that recently overtook Toyota to be the world`s top-selling vehicle maker in the first six months of the year. Its stock market value is about €66bn ($75bn; £48bn).

Investigation

VW has ordered an external investigation, although it has not revealed who will be conducting it.

"We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law," Mr Winterkorn said.

The German government said on Monday it would rely on the US authorities to assess whether VW had done anything wrong in Europe.

"We expect the car companies to pass on reliable information so that the Federal Motor Transport Authority, the responsible authority in this case, can investigate whether similar manipulations took place with the emissions systems in Germany and Europe," a spokesman for the German environment ministry said.

`Big problem`

The scandal comes five months after former chairman Ferdinand Piech left Volkswagen following disagreements with Mr Winterkorn.

"This disaster is beyond all expectations," Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, said.

The VW board is due to meet on Friday to decide whether to renew the chief executive`s contract until 2018, and some analysts speculated Mr Winterkorn may be on his way out.

"No question that this is a big problem for Volkswagen and could lead to [the chief executive] losing his job," said Prof. Christian Stadler from Warwick Business School.

He compared the scandal to Toyota recalling nine million cars between 2009-11.

"To some extent, the cheating by Volkswagen seems more blatant, but the numbers are lower and there are no fatalities involved.

"This suggests that in the heat of the moment the long-term effect on Volkswagen maybe overstated. Sure it will hurt, but maybe not quite as bad as we expect right now."

Legal action

VW had been promoting its diesel cars in the US as being better for the environment.

The US law firm Hagens Berman is launching a class-action suit against VW on behalf of people who bought the relevant cars.

The models cited by the law firm are the diesel versions in the US of:

Jetta (2009 - 2015)

Beetle (2009 - 2015)

Audi A3 (2009 - 2015)

Golf (2009 - 2015)

Passat (2014 - 2015)

"While Volkswagen tells consumers that its diesel cars meet California emissions standards, vehicle owners are duped into paying for vehicles that do not meet this standard and unknowingly pay more for quality they never receive," the firm alleged.


Comments

m1.png m2.png m3.png m4.png m5.png
f1.png f2.png f3.png f4.png f5.png
+ =
Exchange Rates
EUR/USD 1.0632
EUR/BRL 3.3977
EUR/AUD 1.4115
EUR/TRY 4.0665
Weather

London

Jan23      07:55
  1. Humidity 47%
  2. Downwind
  3. Winds 0 kph
Now
-14℃
Latest Videos
VIDEO: The Biology of Bliss and the Human OS - Jamie Wheal
Terror and Tourism: Changing the Travel Landscape
Earth In 2050 - HD Documentary 2015
The drive for gender equality in corporate Japan
Plane touches down then aborts during storm (VIDEO)
The Fermi Paradox II — Solutions and Ideas – Where Are All The Aliens (VIDEO)
Latest Photos
best cities for small businesses
Best Jobs in America (PHOTOS)
Inside the coolest private jets (PHOTOS)
The best hotel club floors in the world
Winning Images from the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
PHOTOS: Raging Wildfires Prompt Major Evacuation