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New VW boss' 'pain and anger' at emissions scandal

Tough times ahead: Matthias Muller will oversee the brand’s recovery without the help of the group’s core engineering talent.

VW’s Muller rallies his troops as Seat and VW LCVs add to cheat code scandal tally

30 Sep 2015

VOLKSWAGEN is about to embark on one of the world’s most extensive recalls to date, with the company announcing overnight that it will reprogram up to 11 million of its diesel vehicles fitted with “cheat code” software.

The total number of cars affected tops the recall of almost 10 million Toyota vehicles worldwide in the early 2000s for supposed unintended acceleration issues, but falls well short of the the current Takata airbag recall, which stands at more than 23 million.

New chief executive officer Matthias Muller addressed a closed-door meeting of more than 1000 Volkswagen managers in Wolfsburg on Monday night, telling them that the company faces “a lot of hard work.”“There is no justification for deception and manipulation,” said Mr Muller, who was appointed last Friday.

“The inconceivable misconduct that has come to light in Volkswagen over the past days pains me and angers me immensely.”

A statement from Volkswagen AG said that owners of impacted vehicles would be informed that the “emissions characteristics” of their vehicles will be fixed in the near future.

“An internal evaluation on Friday established that a service procedure is required for some five million vehicles from the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand out of a total eleven million Group vehicles worldwide,” read the statement.

“These vehicles from certain models and model years (such as the sixth generation Golf, the seventh generation Passat or the first generation Tiguan) are fitted with Type EA 189 diesel engines.”

Another VW subsidiary, the Spanish brand Seat, has announced that 700,000 of its vehicles are affected, while Volkswagen’s commercial division – which includes the Caddy, Transporter and Amarok – has admitted to 1.8 million affected vehicles.

News regarding locally affected vehicles is yet to surface, with Volkswagen Australia saying only that “at this stage we are unable to comment on the local situation as we are still awaiting details with regards to our market.”

A meeting of the Supervisory Board last Friday has resulted in the suspension of three of the Volkswagen Group’s most experienced managers.

Volkswagen director of development Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Audi’s director of development, Dr Ulrich Hackenberg and Porsche director of development, Dr Wolfgang Hatz have all denied any knowledge of the scandal.

According to a report from Reuters, Volkswagen confirmed that a number of employees were placed “on leave” last Friday, but no names were offered.

Meanwhile, the body charged with testing emissions in Europe has admitted that its testing regime is inadequate, and that it would accelerate plans for real-world testing.

Currently, car-makers are able to employ emissions-testing engineers to conduct tests on their behalf for submission to the commission.

In a statement, the European Commission said that emissions are currently measured on a laboratory test cycle, which does not reflect normal driving conditions.

“To address this shortcoming, the commission has been working to develop Real Driving Emission (RDE) test procedures,” it said.

“RDE testing will reduce the currently observed differences between emissions measured in the laboratory and those measured on the road under real-world conditions, and to a great extent limit the risk of cheating with a defeat device.”

The new testing procedure will come into force in January 2016.

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