Volkswagen’s newly appointed CEO Matthias Müller says the car maker has a plan to refit customers’ vehicles affected by the ongoing US emissions cheating scandal. Müller delivered the news to a group of company managers at Volkswagen HQ in Wolfsburg, Germany, following a long weekend with the project team tasked with helping dig the company out of its crisis, according to The Wall Street Journal. The plan awaits regulatory approval. Volkswagen’s market value has plummeted by $25 billion since news of the scandal broke less than two weeks ago and former chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned.
“[This will be] the biggest service action in the company’s history,” Volkswagen spokesman Christian Buhlmann tells The Wall Street Journal. It’s unclear how many of the 11 million affected diesel-powered vehicles will be recalled for a refitting, but every one that is recalled will need software changes to rid the cars of so-called “defeat devices” used to trick US authorities. Some hardware changes will also be required as some cars contain engines in need of fuel injection pump replacements. The current fix will only apply to VW vehicles tested and sold in the European Union, according to the Los Angeles Times, as the roughly 488,000 cars affected in the US will need to pass stricter emissions tests.
“[THIS WILL BE] THE BIGGEST SERVICE ACTION IN THE COMPANY’S HISTORY.”
There’s now a website, vwdieselinfo.com, to keep owners of any of the affected cars, which include Audi vehicles and popular VW models like the Jetta and Passat, up to date and information about the recall is expected later this week. The company has said throughout the ordeal that the cars are safe to drive, and it appears executives are confident that its cars can be refitted to pass the EPA-mandated emissions tests.
Still, Volkswagen remains under investigation by both the EPA and the US Justice Department and could suffer damages of up to $18 billion for violating the Clean Air Act. Volkswagen has for now put aside $7.3 billion to cover the scandal’s associated costs.