The talks between Volkswagen’s CEO and the US environmental officials did not end up with an agreement for a fix for nearly 600,000 affected diesel vehicles.
The rejection by the US regulators of Volkswagen’s plan to fix the 2.0-litre diesel cars that emit up to 40 times the legally allowable limits was an unexpected blow for the German automaker, which had high hopes to end a 4-month long scandal. The California Air Resources Board said VW’s proposed fix was “incomplete, substantially deficient and falls far short of meeting the legal requirements.” It also said the proposal could not be implemented soon enough. After the Tuesday refusal, VW CEO Matthias Mueller was due to meet next day with Gina McCarthy, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in an attempt to save what could be saved from such a deadlock. But it seems that the talks between the sides did not bring any good news or further development of the matter for the carmaker.
A spokeswoman for the Agency said in a statement after the hour long meeting with Mueller that the EPA appreciated the conversation. “We will continue to work toward a solution,” the spokeswoman said. “We appreciate the time that Administrator McCarthy took to meet with us,” the company said in a statement. “Volkswagen will continue to fully cooperate.” It was the highest level meeting between US and VW officials since the scandal became public in September.
The company has faced growing criticism on the handling of the crisis after the rejection followed an inappropriate statement made by Muller before the Detroit Auto Show. During an interview
aired by National Public Radio, the CEO blamed the scandal on a misunderstanding and called it a technical, not an ethical, problem.