- CEO Mueller meets with EPA's McCarthy for about an hour
- EPA's Grundler says Volkswagen fix must be `expeditious'
Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Matthias Mueller met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for about an hour Wednesday, as the German carmaker discussed revamped proposals to overcome a diesel emissions-cheating scandal.
Mueller pulled out from the EPA courtyard in a black Audi sedan without commenting on the meeting.
The company issued a short statement acknowledging that Mueller and VW brand chief Herbert Diess had met with McCarthy. “Volkswagen will continue to fully cooperate” with regulators, the company said in a statement.
The EPA, in an e-mail, said "We will continue to work toward a solution.”
The meeting came a day after the California Air Resources Board rejected the company’s initial proposed engine fix. California spurned the automaker’s December recommendation for how to fix 2-liter diesel engines as “incomplete.” EPA said in a statement it agreed with the California regulator’s assessment. VW said it would present a reworked plan at the meeting in Washington.
The EPA is insisting on an “expeditious” fix to bring Volkswagen vehicles into compliance with U.S. emissions standards, Chris Grundler, director of EPA’s office of transportation and air quality, said in Detroit. The agency doesn’t know how long it will take for VW to fix the vehicles, he added.
“As a rule we don’t talk about ongoing enforcement matters. I can’t get into the details,” Grundler said. “This is a very, very serious matter. We take our responsibility for overseeing emissions very seriously.”
Europe’s largest automaker is in the midst of complex technical talks with the California board and counterparts at the EPA about possible fixes for 480,000 diesel cars. Volkswagen set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in the third quarter to help pay for the crisis and has acknowledged this won’t be enough.
Representative Tim Murphy, the Pennsylvania Republican who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations subcommittee that is conducting a probe of the VW scandal, said Tuesday that he doesn’t want penalties imposed that would endanger the company.
"We know that Volkswagen is putting together a plan to repurchase vehicles, to offer some compensations, to fix cars, etc.,” Murphy said. “It’s quite a bit. It’s going to be costly for them."
"I don’t think anybody wants to see the elimination of the company," he said. "That’s not our approach."