Volkswagen will present US authorities with plans for bringing its vehicles outfitted
Los Angeles - AFP
German automaker Volkswagen, tainted by an emissions scandal, said it will present US authorities Friday with plans for bringing its vehicles outfitted with pollution-cheating software into compliance with regulations.
"We're hopeful we'll be able to announce something soon about the remedies we have identified and which we'll be discussing with the agencies in the coming days," Volkswagen Group of America president and chief executive Michael Horn said at a Los Angeles auto show Wednesday.
The event marked the group's first auto show in North America since the Volkswagen scandal broke in September.
The automaker is struggling to cope with the biggest crisis of its history following its admission that it had fitted 11 million vehicles with devices designed to cheat pollution tests.
"We are discussing with the agencies on Friday all the remedies and afterwards there will be a communication," Horn said.
"We're cooperating fully with the regulators," he added, singling out in particular the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Horn, who made his first public appearance since he testified before Congress on October 8, said that 120,000 owners have signed up for a goodwill compensation package, which includes a $500 prepaid Visa card.
Other perks of the deal are a $500 voucher for VW dealership services and free roadside assistance for three years.
Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at Edmunds.com, told AFP that the $500 gift card was a nice gesture but not what customers were looking for.
"They want to know what the fix is for their vehicles so they can move on and either accept the fix or look into selling the car," she said.
"Until then they are stuck in a no man's land, which by Volkswagen's own admission, is incredibly frustrating for owners of these vehicles."
Horn said he understood customers' anger and frustration, but warned that the vehicle repair process "will take time."
VW CEO Matthias Mueller aimed to recall the affected vehicles beginning in January, he added.
While testifying before Congress, Horn said that the fix could take one to two years.
The auto industry has been shocked by the Volkswagen scandal, in which the world's largest automaker was shown to have programmed its 2009-2015 four-cylinder diesel cars to perform well in official anti-pollution testing in the lab, but then override the pollution controls for better road performance when out in the real world.
The defeat device allows cars to have more power and save more fuel, but spew more pollutants into the air, including nitrogen oxides, in amounts much higher than permitted emissions standards.