WASHINGTON -- Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn will go before a U.S. House panel next week to answer questions from lawmakers about the company’s violations of U.S. diesel emissions rules.
Horn will be joined by EPA officials at the Oct. 8 hearing before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, according to a statement from the panel.
The committee has launched an investigation into EPA allegations that VW admitted to installing software on 482,000 diesel-powered cars sold since 2008. The software allowed the cars to pass U.S. emissions tests while spewing up to 40 times permitted levels of nitrogen oxide emissions in real-world driving.
“The very notion of a carmaker intentionally violating our environmental laws is beyond belief,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, said in a statement. “Attempting to deceive regulators and customers is a double whammy of betrayal. We will get to the bottom of this.”
Lawmakers on the committee have already requested documents and a briefing from VW and the EPA on the matter. On Tuesday, the panel sent letters to the agency and automaker that seek a timeline of events related to the company’s violations as well as communications between VW and the EPA.
The letters, signed by the top-ranking committee members of both parties, gave VW an Oct. 13 deadline to turn over the material and asked both parties to brief the committee's staff by Oct. 2.
The hearing will be led by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Penn., who chairs the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
“The American people want to know why these devices were in place, how the decision was made to install them, and how they went undetected for so long. We will get them those answers,” Murphy said in a statement.
The hearing adds to the mounting pressure facing VW in the wake of the scandal. The company also faces probes by the Department of Justice, the EPA, the California Air Resources Board, 29 state attorneys general and a number of regulators overseas.
Horn’s testimony will mark his first public questioning before government officials about the violations since they were disclosed by the EPA on Sept. 18.
Horn publicly apologized for the violations at the introduction of the 2016 Passat midsize sedan on Sept. 21.
“Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you … and in my German words: We have totally screwed up," Horn said at the time. "We must fix the cars to prevent this from ever happening again and we have to make this right.”
The chief of VW’s U.S. arm since January 2014, Horn received a vote of confidence last week when VW’s supervisory board announced he would remain at the helm of VW Group of America, despite earlier reports to the contrary.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.