- U.S. brand chief Horn apologizes to customers, employees
- Automaker working with regulators to develop a remedy
Michael Horn, chief executive officer of the Volkswagen brand in the U.S., reminded owners of diesel cars that violate clean air rules that their vehicles are safe to drive while a fix is being pursued.
“When we have a remedy in place, customers will be notified of the next steps immediately,” Horn said in a video on a website the automaker released over the weekend.
Europe’s largest automaker is seeking to reassure owners of about half a million autos in the U.S. powered by 2.0-liter diesel engines programmed with a so-called defeat device that let the vehicles pass emissions tests in the lab, but spew as much as 40 times the amount of smog-creating toxins as allowed. Owners with a questions or concerns are directed to a toll-free number for a customer care center: 800-822-8987.
About 11 million vehicles worldwide are equipped with the engine, including 5 million VWs and 2.1 million Audi brand vehicles. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company sold 10.1 million vehicles last year, ranking just behind Toyota Motor Corp. Former CEO Martin Winterkorn is the subject of a criminal investigation, prosecutors in Braunschweig, Germany, said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.
“We are committed at every level of the company to do what must be done to regain your trust,” Horn said in the video, which was reported on earlier by Automotive News. “And we hope that you will give us that opportunity.”