Volkswagen debuted the Tiguan GTE Active Concept at this week’s Detroit Auto Show with the spectre of their diesel emissions cheat looming overhead. It’s been months since the cheat was first publicized and the company has been slow to come up with a fix. Looks like that fix may finally be here in the form of new catalytic converters.
On Sunday, Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said that a new catalytic converter could put everything to rights for their diesels. That means 430,000 cars in the US would finally be back in line with emissions standards.
This is only a proposed fix right now as anything Volkswagen chooses to do has to be approved by the EPA. Several meetings have already happened, but the two parties haven’t quite seen eye-to-eye on a solution. According to Reuters, Mueller expressed confidence that a solution would be reached this time.
He said the new proposal will come close to what the EPA is expecting. We won’t know if it’s close enough until after Mueller and the EPA meet this week during Mueller’s first visit to the US since taking the helm at VW.
The fix is only a part of the solution as there’s still the matter of owners who feel cheated and expect restitution even if their cars are fixed. VW’s initial compensation offer was made to 482,000 owners of diesels of which 260,00 have responded. The process is moving quickly with half of those respondents already receiving payment.
The deal gives affected owners $500 in cash and $500 in credits at dealerships and doesn’t preclude those owners from participating in other attempts at restitution. Class action lawsuits or individual suits are still fair game.
Those who own larger VW diesels were not included in the initial offer, but that changed on Monday when they extended the offer to those who own cars like the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and several Audis.
While in the US, Mueller will be discussing the situation with people in Washington in hopes of coming to a permanent solution. One of the challenges faced is that the rules protecting information in Germany are different from those in the US.
This led to US state attorneys accusing VW of withholding information, but Mueller seems intent on working out a solution that makes everyone happy. Mueller said he’s even willing to testify before the US Congress to clear up any questions or confusion about what was done and the plans for a fix.