Volkswagen’s Week of Troubles
Ever since it was revealed that Volkswagen had built a mechanism into some diesel Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche models that would allow them to cheat their way through emission tests, the company’s been in hot water and looking for a way to get out of it. Several things happened this week that suggest it may not be so easy.
At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday, January 11, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller issued a statement on the scandal, followed by an interview with NPR in which he blamed the problem on VW’s engineers not being clear on American emissions law.
“Frankly spoken, it was a technical problem. We made a default, we had a … not the right interpretation of the American law. And we had some targets for our technical engineers, and they solved this problem and reached targets with some software solutions which haven’t been compatible to the American law. That is the thing. And the other question you mentioned — it was an ethical problem? I cannot understand why you say that.”–Mathias Mueller
The next day, California’s Air Resources Board rejected VW’s proposed fix as “incomplete.” The federal EPA issued a statement saying it agreed with the state. VW responded that it would present a reworked plan to the EPA directly.
That meeting Wednesday between Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Matthias Mueller and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was brief, with Mueller departing the EPA in a black Audi sedan only an hour after it started. Neither party commented on what was said.
Volkswagen is continuing its conversations with California and the EPA, and has already earmarked 6.7 billion euros to cover the eventual costs of fixing about 480,000 diesel vehicles. That’s about $7.3 billion. The company expects the final price tag to be higher.