VOLKSWAGEN chief executive Matthias Mueller has apologised in person to US president Barack Obama for the car-maker’s emissions scandal.
He said he held a two-minute conversation with the president during his visit to Hanover, Germany, this week.
‘I took the opportunity to apologise to him personally for this matter,’ Mueller said during a news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany.
‘I also expressed my thanks for the constructive co-operation with his authorities and naturally expressed the hope that I can continue to fulfil my responsibilities for 600,000 workers, their families, the suppliers, the dealers.’
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could levy fines of up to 18 billion US dollars (£12.4 billion), but analysts think the punishment will not be that drastic.
Volkswagen seemed to endorse that view when it announced it had set aside £5.4 billion globally for legal costs from 2015, on top of £6 billion to cover fixes and an offer to buy back some 500,000 defective cars.
Overall, the company deducted £12.6 billion from last year’s earnings to cover the costs of the scandal, in which it fitted cars with software that enabled them to pass tests but then turned emissions controls off during everyday driving.
The scandal broke when the EPA took action against Volkswagen. Some 11 million cars worldwide have turned out to have the software.
Mueller said that recalling and fixing the cars that were rigged to cheat on the tests ‘will remain our most important task until the very last vehicle has been put in order’.
Analysts say the impact of lower sales could make the final bill much higher than the company’s figure.
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