Volkswagen Group of America may soon disclose how it intends to fix 482,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles with illegal emissions software, the company’s chief said today.
At a Los Angeles auto show press conference, VWoA CEO Michael Horn addressed the elephant in the room, saying: “I am personally hopeful that we will be able to announce something soon about the remedies that we have identified and which we are discussing with the agencies in the upcoming days.”
The automaker is approaching a Friday deadline to submit draft plans for the fixes to the California Air Resources Board. CARB and the EPA must approve VW’s repair plans before a recall can begin.
Horn said VW’s “goodwill” program introduced on Nov. 9 will help the company maximize the number of vehicles that are repaired once the fix is available. VW is collecting owner addresses when customers sign up for the program, Horn said, which will help the company target recall communications when updates are ready.
Horn said about 120,000 customers have signed up for the goodwill program so far, which offers eligible 2.0-liter TDI owners a $500 prepaid Visa card, $500 in dealership credit and three years of 24-hour roadside assistance.
“Let me be very clear to you: We will take care of our customers, but this will take time, and this responsibility is one that I don’t take lightly,” Horn said.
Horn, noting his remarks come two months to the day since the EPA revealed VW’s emissions violations, again apologized and acknowledged the “anger” and “frustration” felt by VW’s diesel owners. He also said he has been “honored” with many emails from customers expressing support for Volkswagen.
“All these reactions are fully understandable since also everybody at Volkswagen of America feels exactly those same emotions,” Horn said.
But until a fix is ready, “we can’t stop apologizing,” Horn said. “We completely understand that apologies aren’t enough.”
VW has said three generations of 2.0-liter diesel engines containing the illegal software will each require different repairs. About 325,000 of the vehicles using the first generation of VW’s 2.0-liter diesel will require software and hardware changes, Horn told a panel of U.S. lawmakers on Oct. 8. Those changes could be extensive.
About 67,000 newer vehicles with third-generation diesels meet emissions standards and can be made compliant with a software update alone, Horn told lawmakers.
The roughly 90,000 2012-14 Passats using the second-generation 2.0-liter diesel will need a software update, but it’s unclear if they will need hardware changes also.
Krishnan Anantharaman contributed to this report.