In a recent interview, Volkswagen’s brand chief said that the company was not that close as it would have thought to strike a deal with the US regulators on a fix for the affected cars.
A lawyer representing Volkswagen told to a US District Judge at a court hearing last month in San Francisco that the automaker was making progress in trying to agree on the fix with the US Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board. However, the judge increased the pressure on the company, demanding a definitive answer on the status of the matter by March 24, saying that six months was long enough to identify a solution for the problem. CEO Matthias Mueller also showed confidence that an agreement would be reached with US regulators on the fix, vehicle buybacks and fines, he said at the Geneva Auto Show.
But the deadline will definitely be stretched, Volkswagen’s brand chief Herbert Diess believes, as it may take months rather than weeks to reach a settlement. “I believe we have good chances to achieve an agreement with the authorities in the United States in the next months,” he said in an interview with the German regional newspaper Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung published on Saturday, cited by Reuters.
The financial repercussions of the emissions scandal will have a major impact on the company’s future profits, and Dieses has also reiterated the need for further cost cuts at VW’s passenger car division, as it needed to improve profitability if it intended to make more investments in the future in the research and development area. “The Volkswagen brand still has some work to do to become more profitable in coming years,” he said. “We will not get a second chance.”