While VW AG’s top US executive said the rigging of diesel emissions tests in the country was the work of “individuals”, the lawmakers at a Congressional hearing also pointed out the federal environmental regulators who in their view failed to see the fraud for years.
Michael Horn, the chief of Volkswagen America, testified under oath before a House of Representatives oversight and investigations panel following the largest crisis in the German automaker’s 78-year existence stemming from an emissions scandal. The company admitted to cheating on diesel emissions tests in the US and also said the same software was installed in up to 11 million vehicles sold worldwide, including the almost half a million in the US. The top US executive claimed the act was not a corporate decision and the automaker used different defeat devices for the US and Europe, due to regulatory differences.
Meanwhile, while the US lawmakers proved they were unsatisfied with the explanation provided, they also slammed the Environmental Protection Agency and its official called to testify after Horn for not uncovering the ploy earlier. Representative Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, singled out the EPA’s massive budget in comparison to the West Virginia University study that uncovered the rigged software and operated on a financing of no more than $70,000. “With all due respect, just looking at the situation, I think the American people ought to ask that we fire you and hire West Virginia University to do our work,” commented Burgess when EPA’s Christopher Grundler claimed his transportation and air quality office does “a very good job of setting priorities.”