VW CEO Calls for New Emissions Tests as Europe Recall Starts

VW's 2015 European Market Share Drops to 24.8%
  • Repairs to 8.5 million cars in Europe to start this week
  • CEO Mueller vows to roll out 20 new emission-free cars by 2020

Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller called for emissions tests in Europe to be reworked to close the gap between laboratory and real-world results, an issue brought to public attention by the German car manufacturer’s cheating scandal.

The automaker admitted in September to rigging 11 million vehicles worldwide so that they could pass official tests while emitting illegal amounts of pollution on the roads. A recall of 8.5 million affected cars in Europe will begin this week, Mueller said Monday at a company reception in Brussels.

“The industrywide discrepancies between official test results and actual usage is no longer tolerable,” Mueller said, according to a statement from Volkswagen. “We, the industry, need to take a new path.”

The CEO has been meeting with politicians and regulators to win back trust as Volkswagen seeks to emerge from a crisis that has wiped more than 17 billion euros ($18.4 billion) off its market value. While European cars will get low-cost repairs, Volkswagen has yet to agree on a fix with U.S. regulators. The company also faces fines and hundreds of lawsuits and has yet to reach an accord with workers on cost-cutting measures.

Renault SA Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said in an interview last week that regulators need to determine new terms for testing vehicles because the VW cheating scandal highlighted the issue that cars’ emissions during day-to-day use are usually “multiples” of lab figures.

Speaking to European Union officials at the Monday event, Mueller vowed to make Volkswagen more environmentally friendly. The effort will include 20 additional plug-in hybrids and pure electric cars by 2020. To support this effort, he called on politicians to support the development of a network of fast-charging stations.

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