This time Audi was doing the apologizing for the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal. Audi of America President Scott Keogh, speaking on the first press day of the Los Angeles Auto Show, told gather reporters that the automaker “has heard the anger [and] frustration” of its customers and is “committed to restoring” customer trust in the brand. He also indicated the automaker “owns” the Dieselgate scandal.
Audi’s diesel model, the A3 TDI, garnered laurels from the green industry through the years. In light of the emissions cheating scandal, though, Keogh told reporters that the carmaker has returned every sustainability and green car award that it has won. For example, Keogh pointed to the 2010 “Green Car of the Year Award” that the A3 achieved. The automaker has returned that and others.
Keogh said he was “shocked” when he heard of the scandal and has personally communicated and answered owner comments about the emissions cheating issue. He said he understands that customers believe the scandal is an “affront to their values.”
According to Automotive News today only six percent of its vehicles on U.S. roads are diesels. Keogh pledged to provide leadership on the issue and own the challenges.
Dieselgate is the ongoing and increasingly complex emissions scandal in which Volkswagen is ensnared. Found by researches looking into VW’s clean diesel claims, the problem involves defeat switch software that the automaker’s engineering team installed on 11 million vehicles that employed the EA189 two-liter four-cylinder powerplant from 2009 to 2015. The software switch is enabled when telltales indicate that the vehicle has entered test mode. At that time, the software changes engine characteristics so that it meets U.S. emissions rule. When the test is over, the engine returns to normal operating mode, restoring performance and fuel economy standards, while failing emissions. The failure is sometimes by as much as 40 percent.
Keogh also indicated that VW’s recently offered $1,000 credit plan for owners of affected diesels is a value for the automaker. He told reporters that the program helps the automaker identify those vehicles which will need repair when the time comes to fix them.
In related matters, Volkswagen:
- Faces hundreds of consumer lawsuits
- Faces major actions by at least 28 states in the U.S.
- Faces ongoing probes by the Justice Department and other U.S. agencies
- Faces criminal probes in at least three European countries including France, Germany and Italy
- Has admitted that another 800,000 vehicles, not originally part of the scandal, have emissions abnormalities
- Faces huge expenses that may top 25 billion euros by 2017
- Has taken a charge of about 6.7 billion euros to meet current expenses related to Dieselgate
- Is conducting an internal probe that is said to be focusing on 40 engineers and managers
- Has been forced to stop selling new diesel models
- Has withdrawn its paperwork for 2016 diesel certification
- Presented a proposed fix for its 1.6-liter diesel powerplant to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). The German transport agency is currently evaluating the fix and will issue a ruling when it has completed its work.