Volkswagen Ag, the world’s (interim) largest automaker by sales, says it would be several months at best before finishing a probe looking to uncover the onerous secrets behind diesel emissions testing cheats, which have sparked the largest crisis in the 78-year history of the company.
US law firm Jones Day was tapped to lead the independent investigation and the news about its timeframe came from the executive committee of VW’s supervisory board after the contracted firm updated them on the progress of the probe. “In view of the time available and the matters to be considered, it would not be realistic to provide well-founded answers which would fulfill the shareholder’s justified expectations,” commented the committee in a statement on Thursday. This also means the company will be forced to postpone an extraordinary general meeting that should have been called on November 9 – when finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch was up for election as the next chairman. He would still be appointed to the board, pending his election as chairman.
The management said next week it would brief the public on any solutions it has found so far. The company admitted it has duped US regulators when probing for diesel emissions and further on said the illegal software was actually fitted to 11 million vehicles around the world, not just close to 500,000 in the US. The ensuing scandal wiped the floor with the company’s market value in just a few days and forced out long-running chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn, swiftly replaced by Porsche unit head Matthias Mueller.