Volkswagen’s new CEO Matthias Mueller has only been on the job a few days, but he’s already taking action. According to a report in Reuters, Volkswagen said it would “refit up to 11 million vehicles” in an effort to eradicate the black eye the brand has suffered over the last week and a half.
Volkswagen is under massive pressure to act, from a number of sources including government regulators and consumers. Reuters obtained a text that contains information from Mueller from a “closed door gathering of about 1,000 top managers” at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters on Monday.
“We are facing a long trudge and a lot of hard work,” read the text, relaying Mueller’s words. “We will only be able to make progress in steps and there will be setbacks.”
The last seven business days have been tumultuous for Europe’s largest automaker. On Friday, September 18, the New York Times reported that between 2009 and 2015, Volkswagen 2.o-liter diesel engines had been using software that would only fully activate the diesel engine’s emissions controls when the software detected that it was being tested. During normal driving, the software would bypass critical parts of the emissions system, allowing the engine to emit 10 to 15 times the pollution allowed by the EPA.
By Monday, during a launch of the all-new Volkswagen Passat in New York, Volkswagen’s US President and CEO Michael Horn said “So let’s be clear about this: Our company was dishonest. With the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you. And in my German words: We’ve totally screwed up.”
At this point, there are no details on what the word “refit” entails. According to Reuters, Mueller said that “the German carmaker would tell customers in the coming days they would need to have diesel vehicles with illegal software refitted, a move which some analysts have said could cost more than $6.5 billion.”
But $6.5 billion divided by the 11 million cars is $590 per car, which seems pretty low for something described as a “refit.”
Vehicles impacted by the scandal include: