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Volkswagen Plans to Fix Emissions-Rigged Vehicles

September 30, 2015

By Steven Martinez

Winfried Vahland, president and CEO of the newly formed Volkswagen North American Region group.
Winfried Vahland, president and CEO of the newly formed Volkswagen North American Region group.

WOLFSBURG, Germany — Volkswagen AG announced yesterday that it is recalling and refitting all 11 million vehicles — including five million passenger cars, 500,000 of which are currently operating on U.S. roadways — equipped with software designed to cheat emissions tests.

The exact procedure has not been revealed, but the company said it would present its plan to regulators before the end of October.

“We are working at full speed on a technical solution that we will present to partners, to our customers and to the public as swiftly as possible,” Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Brand, said in a statement posted on Volkswagen’s media site last Friday. “I assure you that Volkswagen will do everything humanly possible to win back the trust of our customers, the dealerships and the public.”

Tina Tedesco, a spokesperson for the California New Car Dealers Association (CNCDA), said members of the association are already fielding a high volume of customer questions and concerns. But she noted that Volkswagen dealers also feel like victims.

“Our dealers are going to do everything to help our customers through this and to get whatever repair or fix will meet whatever standards the cars have been failing because of the software that has been installed by Volkswagen,” she said.

“This is a situation where our dealers have felt deceived by their business partner,” Tedesco added. “Our dealers don’t manufacture the vehicles; they sell the vehicles that are provided to them by, in this case, Volkswagen. “

One possible fix being discussed could result in the reduction of fuel economy and performance. “I know that that’s been discussed, and, of course, that’s a concern,” Tedesco said. “But we have to wait and see what the fix is and what the result of that fix is.”

In the midst of the scandal, the company has made significant changes to its top leadership. Volkswagen AG has tapped former Porsche AG Chairman Matthias Muller as Martin Winterkorn’s replacement as CEO. Winterkorn stepped down from his post on Sept 23, five days after the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) accused Audi and Volkswagen of using a software algorithm in its four-cylinder diesel engines to circumvent federal emissions standards.

In addition to naming a new company head, VW has appointed Winfried Vahland as president and CEO of the newly formed Volkswagen North American Region Group, which will oversee VW’s operations in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Additionally, Michael Horn will remain in his role as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, which will operate under the umbrella of the newly established group.

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