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January 11, 2016

Detroit – Scandal-stricken VW still sees US as ‘core’ market

Volkswagen CEO has said the automaker is sticking to investment plans and continues to view the US as a core market, ahead of critical meetings this week with government officials over its admission that it rigged emission tests on 'clean diesel' vehicles.

Volkswagen CEO has said the automaker is sticking to investment plans and continues to view the US as a core market, ahead of critical meetings this week with government officials over its admission that it rigged emission tests on ‘clean diesel’ vehicles.

“We are totally committed to making things right,” CEO Matthias Mueller said, according to Bloomberg, in a speech in Detroit ahead of the North American International Auto Show. “We know we deeply disappointed our customers, the responsible government bodies and the general public here in the U.S. I apologize for what went wrong at Volkswagen .”

Mueller told Bloomberg it may be possible to fix as many as 430,000 vehicles of 480,000 affected by adding a newly-developed SCR catalytic converter, though the actual number could vary and depends on the EPA’s approval.

The relatively easy and cheap technical solution for about 8.5m affected cars in Europe didn’t apply to cars in the US because of technical differences and stricter diesel emission rules.

Bloomberg noted Mueller would meet with EPA head Gina McCarthy this week in Washington to try find a way forward. The regulator said last Monday the talks hadn’t produced an acceptable outcome so far.

Initial feedback from affected US drivers indicates only a relatively small number want to trade in their cars, Volkswagen ‘s US chief Michael Horn told Bloomberg.

Mueller reiterated the VW group would add 20 new electric and hybrid cars to its lineup by 2020 and is presenting a concept for the hybrid version of its revamped Tiguan compact sport utility vehicle at the Detroit show. Production of an updated and redesigned Tiguan started last week.

Volkswagen must further deepen its understanding of the United States,” Mueller told Bloomberg.

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