After days of silence following a shocking revelation that Volkswagen cheated US emissions rules, the CEO of Volkswagen AG has released a statement offering an apology and a commitment.
'I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,' said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG. 'We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case.'
Winterkorn went on to say that Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation.
'We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law,' he said. 'The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset. We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, personally, and for our entire Board of Management.'
The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has accused Volkswagen of using a defeat device that would enable VW to circumvent emissions testing procedures, using a complex software algorithm that allows cars to detect when they are being tested for emissions and activate full emissions controls only then. The defeat devices were installed in 482,000 2009-2015 model year VW and Audi models using a 4-cylinder TDI diesel engine.
'Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,' said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. 'Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.'
The EPA is demanding that VW recall affected vehicles and could levy fines totaling $18 billion.