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VW raises green focus

Green plan: Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller addressed staff in Brussels this week, announcing that the company was using the diesel emissions crisis to “fundamentally realign the group”.

Diesel emissions scandal will result in a better Volkswagen: Mueller

27 Jan 2016

VOLKSWAGEN Group CEO Matthias Mueller says the the automotive giant is using the recent diesel emissions scandal as a way to shift its focus to developing more sustainable powertrain technology.

Speaking at the VW Group New Year reception in Brussels, Mr Mueller said the company would focus on sustainability in relation to products, strategy and management “more than ever before”.

He also reiterated the company's plan to introduce about 20 additional models with electric or plug-in hybrid powertrains by 2020 as part of its concentration on green technology.

Mr Mueller said the diesel emissions scandal that broke in September and has impacted about 11 million cars from the VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands, has forced a shift of focus, adding that it would result in improvements to the company.

“We are using the current crisis to fundamentally realign the Group,” he said.

“I strongly feel we now have the chance to build a new and better Volkswagen.” With a number of governments and organisations, including the French Homologation Authority, doing their own emissions testing, Mr Mueller announced that VW would have its emissions results “checked and certified” by external and independent testers in the future.

Vehicles will also be randomly tested under “real driving conditions”, according to Mr Mueller.

“We hope this will help to win back trust,” he said.

“The industry-wide discrepancies between the official test results and actual consumption are no longer accepted and no longer acceptable. We need to break new ground here.” A fix for the emissions cheat device has been agreed to and retrofitting the 8.5 million affected vehicles in Europe will start this week, Mr Mueller said.

“We will manage the recall in the most customer friendly and best possible way.”

In his address, Mr Mueller also called on industrial companies and policy makers to work more closely on the future of mobility to ensure that the European Union takes the lead in areas of automotive technology, infrastructure and legislation.

“We must not leave this playing field to Silicon Valley,” he said.

“The efforts of our industry alone won’t be enough. We need to work together to make sure that Europe remains innovative and competitive as an industrial location in a rapidly changing world.

“A true breakthrough for electric mobility will only be achieved if politics, society and authorities work together more closely.”

Meanwhile, British publication Autocar reports that after it investigated VW Group fuel consumption figures on VW Group cars, Audi and Seat raised official CO2 figures for some petrol and diesel engines.

The report suggests that Audi raised CO2 figures on six A1, four A4 and eight Q3 variants, while Seat raised emissions figures for 26 Ibiza and Leon variants in mid-December, just days after it issued a press release stating that following extensive internal investigations “it is now clear that almost all of these model variants do correspond to the CO2 figures originally determined”.

“The suspicion that the fuel consumption figures of current production vehicles had been unlawfully changed was not confirmed. During internal re-measurements slight deviations were found on just nine model variants of the Volkswagen brand,” the release from December 9 went on to state.

Following Autocar's own discovery, the report says a VW Group spokesperson told the publication that the changes to the emissions results were uncovered as part of “normal conformity disciplines”.

“Conformity of Production testing is a regular and ongoing process, and such updates are us doing our business as usual. The changes were made public through the normal channels,” the spokesperson told the publication.

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