Volkswagen shares have risen ahead of a crucial meeting on Wednesday. Today is the day when CEO Matthias Mueller will try to persuade US authorities to accept a fix for hundreds of thousands of cars rigged to cheat diesel emissions tests.
His company believes a specialized catalytic converter can be fitted to most affected US vehicles to satisfy US regulators.
Volkswagen is faced with fixing hundreds of thousands of US vehicles that cheated on emissions testing.
Mueller’s meeting arrives just days after he attempted to play down the entire cheating scandal.
In comments aired by National Public Radio (NPR), Mueller blamed the scandal on a misunderstanding and called it a technical, not an ethnical, issue.
Mueller has already come under fire for taking over the CEO role in September, but only now making his first trip to the United States.
A union source close to VW’s supervisory board said he was “astonished” by Mueller’s remarks. “This is a key week for Volkswagen as it struggles to regain ground in the United States. Those comments are anything but helpful and should have never been made,” he said.
Following his NPR interview, Volkswagen asked for a redo, claiming that Mueller is not proficient in English and that the loud environment he was involved in at the Detroit Auto Show, made it hard for him to properly convey his thoughts.
The company quickly apologized to customers, dealers and authorities.
US environmental regulators have voiced their repeated concern that VW is not doing enough to deal with the cheating scandal. Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles in the US have been pumping out 50 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide in its 2.0 liter diesel cars over the last seven years.
“VW’s submissions are incomplete, substantially deficient, and fall far short of meeting the legal requirements to return these vehicles to the claimed certified configuration,” the California Air Resources Board (CARB) wrote in a letter to VW on Tuesday.