New VW CEO says cars affected by emissions-rigging scandal to be refitted

from CNET News

VW CEO Matthias Müller.

Volkswagen will reportedly refit up to 11 million diesel vehicles affected by its emissions-cheating scandal with new software.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Matthias Müller, VW’s newly minted CEO, informed about 1,000 of the German automaker’s managers of the plan at its Wolfsburg headquarters on Monday. Müller disclosed that the company convened a special team over the weekend to develop a "comprehensive action plan," that will inform affected owners of recall specifics after those plans are approved by EU authorities. The fix includes refitting new software that will bring the cars into compliance with applicable emissions laws.

The action could cost upwards of $6.5 billion by some analysts’ estimates.

VW has been under fire since it was revealed earlier this month that the automaker fitted so-called "defeat devices" to nearly half a million US diesel passenger cars that allowed them to pass EPA emissions testing but emit up to 40 times as many pollutants in real-world driving. Subsequent investigations revealed that the defeat devices are present on around 11-million vehicles globally.

It is not immediately clear if the software fix will have ramifications for affected vehicles beyond bringing them in to emissions compliance. Industry experts fear that in order to make the vehicles legal, some other areas of their performance are likely to be negatively affected, including power, fuel economy and overall drivability.

As of publication time, a VW of America spokesperson told CNET that he had yet to be contacted by Wolfsburg with plan details, and was waiting to hear specifics, including what (if any) side-effects the emissions remedy may have on customer cars.

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