President and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America Michael Horn appeared Thursday before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, withdrawing from emissions-certification consideration suspect 2016 diesel models in the wake of the automaker’s diesel scandal. Without certification by the federal government, those vehicles cannot be sold in the U.S.
Related: More VW Diesel Recall News
Horn outlined a five-step plan the company will follow to try to remedy the situation. It includes:
- Worldwide investigations to determine how the problem occurred and to hold responsible parties accountable.
- Reassuring the public that the vehicles are safe to drive.
- Developing fixes for all three groups of affected vehicles that use one of three generations of the 2.0-liter diesel engine.
- Examining the automaker’s compliance, processes and standards, and adopting measures to prevent future breaches of trust.
- Adopting a system of regular and open communication with customers, dealers, employees and the public, starting with a designated service line and website, as well as a letter to each affected customer.
The VW diesel crisis is “fundamentally contrary to Volkswagen’s core principles of providing value to our customers, innovation, and responsibility to our communities and the environment,” Horn said in his statement.
“It is inconsistent that the company involved in this emissions issue is also a company that has invested in environmental efforts to reduce the carbon footprint in our factories around the world,” he continued.
Elsewhere, VW CEO Matthias Muller in an interview Wednesday announced plans to launch a recall in January of millions of cars around the world involved in the automaker’s diesel-emissions testing crisis.
According to a report in The Detroit News, Muller said the automaker hopes to fix all the vehicles equipped with emissions-rigging software by the end of 2016. A VW spokesman confirmed for Cars.com, however, that this recall does not pertain to the roughly half-million affected vehicles in the U.S.
“It’s not for the U.S. market,” VW spokesman John Schilling told Cars.com in an email. “We have not announced our remedy here yet nor a timeline. Still pending.”
The software was used to circumvent EPA emissions inspections of its diesel engines in the U.S. No single solution will solve every problem due to varied transmissions and country-specific designs, VW officials say. Potential fixes range from a simple software update up to major parts replacements.
The automaker reportedly has earmarked $7.3 billion to cover recall expenses and other measures to win back consumer trust, though that amount could pale in comparison to a possible $18 billion EPA fine. VW has stated publicly that it will postpone or cancel all nonessential investments and redirect financial resource to this effort.