VW Chief ‘Personally’ Apologized to Obama Over Cheating – New York Times


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Matthias Müller, Volkswagen’s chief, on a monitor at an annual firm news conference on Thursday in Wolfsburg, Germany.

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Julian Stratenschulte/European Pressphoto Agency

WOLFSBURG, Germany — The chief executive of Volkswagen said on Thursday that he personally apologized to President Obama this week for cheating on car emissions tests, speaking up for its job force as the German carmaker negotiates penalties along with United States officials.

Volkswagen is in talks along with American authorities regarding the fines it need to pay for programming engines to cheat on emissions tests. The firm said on Thursday that it had set aside 7 billion euros, or $7.9 billion, for legal costs worldwide, although in theory it faces fines of $18 billion in the United States alone, plus compensation to owners.

Matthias Müller, the chief executive of Volkswagen, had just what he described as a two-moment conversation along with Mr. Obama throughout the president’s visit this week to Hanover, not far from Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg. The encounter took place on Sunday at a dinner hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel for Mr. Obama and representatives of German industry.

“I used the opportunity to personally apologize to him or her for our behavior,” Mr. Müller said throughout a news conference in Wolfsburg on Thursday. “I thanked him or her for the constructive cooperation along with his officials. Of path I likewise expressed the chance that I will certainly have the ability to go on to satisfy my responsibility to 600,000 employees and their families also as suppliers and dealers.”

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Explaining Volkswagen’s Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen has actually accepted that 11 million of its vehicles were equipped along with software that was used to cheat on emissions tests. The firm is now contending along with the fallout.



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Mr. Müller’s mention of Volkswagen workers and their families could have actually reflected concern that the punishment the firm faces could harm those that had not anything to do along with any type of wrongdoing. Lawyers in the case expect the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department to requirement penalties that are painful for Volkswagen, however not so serious that they destroy the company.

Thousands of jobs in the United States depend on Volkswagen. The firm has actually a factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., that is preparation to create a brand-new version of the Tiguan compact S.U.V., also as an extensive dealer network in the country.

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Mr. Müller said on Thursday that Mr. Obama appeared receptive to his remarks. The Volkswagen chief said he felt encouraged regarding a solution that would certainly guarantee the firm a future in the United States.

The White Residence declined to comment on Mr. Müller’s account of the event.

The German carmaker said last week that it had set aside €16.2 billion to cover costs related to its admission that it had programmed diesel vehicles to evade clean air regulations. On Thursday, it said that within that figure was €7 billion for legal costs, which entails proceedings in others countries, love France or South Korea.

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Volkswagen vehicles in a automobile delivery tower. Volkswagen, which owns brands including Porsche and Skoda also as manufacturers of trucks and commercial vehicles, sold 10 million vehicles in 2015, down from 10.2 million in 2014.

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Markus Schreiber/Associated Press

Most of the rest of the €16.2 billion will certainly be used to repair diesel vehicles that are polluting much more compared to allowed, or to buy spine ones that cannot be fixed.

The €7 billion figure disclosed on Thursday indicates that the firm is confident that its legal costs in the United States will certainly be considerably reduced compared to the maximum.

Volkswagen has actually accepted manipulating software in 11 million cars worldwide, including regarding 600,000 in the United States, so that emissions equipment operated at full capacity only as soon as the vehicles were being tested. At others times, the cars polluted even more compared to allowed.

The €7 billion would certainly likewise cover compensation to the owners of Volkswagen vehicles that have actually filed class-action lawsuits.

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On Thursday, Volkswagen likewise offered details on the loss it reported last week. The firm said it had lost €1.5 billion global throughout the year, compared along with a profit of €11 billion in 2014. Volkswagen A.G., a subset of Volkswagen Group that entails core operations such as the Volkswagen brand however that excludes the Audi unit also as some foreign holdings, reported a loss of €5.5 billion.

Though Audi has actually belonged to Volkswagen because the 1960s, it continues to have actually a small variety of outside shareholders and holds its own annual meeting.

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Volkswagen, which owns brands including Porsche and Skoda also as manufacturers of trucks and commercial vehicles, sold 10 million vehicles in 2015, down from 10.2 million in 2014. Sales flower 5.4 percent to €213 billion.

Company executives said they still enjoyed the United States as a growth market for Volkswagen, despite the enormous damage to the carmaker’s image.

“We do see a great deal of potential, though of path not in the short term,” Herbert Diess, the executive in charge of Volkswagen brand cars, said throughout the news conference. “We are starting from zero.”

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