VW CEO Says He’s ‘Deeply Sorry’ About Emissions Cheating

VW CEO Says He’s ‘Deeply Sorry’ About Emissions Cheating

After days of silence following a shocking revelation that Volkswagen cheated US emissions rules, the CEO of Volkswagen AG has released a statement offering an apology and a commitment.

“I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case.”

SEE ALSO: VW Used Illegal Software to Cheat Emissions

Winterkorn went on to say that Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation.

“We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law,” he said. “The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset. We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, personally, and for our entire Board of Management.”

The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has accused Volkswagen of using a defeat device that would enable VW to circumvent emissions testing procedures, using a complex software algorithm that allows cars to detect when they are being tested for emissions and activate full emissions controls only then. The defeat devices were installed in 482,000 2009-2015 model year VW and Audi models using a 4-cylinder TDI diesel engine.

SEE ALSO: VW USA Halts Sales of Diesel Cars

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

The EPA is demanding that VW recall affected vehicles and could levy fines totaling $18 billion.

Discuss this story at our Volkswagen forum.

  • Rocket

    The fines and recalls are going to be costly in the short term without a doubt. Long term, however, the trust issue will be difficult to overcome — particularly with customers who were duped into believing they were doing the right thing for the environment.

  • eddieo

    Two things:

    1) Greenpeace knew of this years ago and urged their supporters to boycott VW over it, so what took the authorities so long to step in?
    2) Anyone who has had the bad luck to bike behind any of these vehicles knows how polluting they are, so how is it no authority suspected it?

  • eddieo

    Indeed – anyone who bought one of these vehicles new should be entitled to return it for a full refund.

  • Don McIsaac

    He’s “Deeply sorry” he got caught.

  • Michael S

    Opportunity for a new nameplate – VW Cheetah.

    Beyond civil fines I feel this is a case where severe criminal penalties should be sought. When I see individuals and corporations act this brazenly I have to wonder what other crimes have they committed that weren’t discovered.

  • J.R.

    Just admit your wrong doings NOW!

  • Bill

    Not looking for a full refund. I’m happy to keep getting my 50 mpgs.

  • Dave Foley

    It looks to me like Piech picked a good time to get out of VW. Right before the stuff hit the fan!

    I wonder how much influence his well known poor interpersonal skills played in this mess. Word has it, he was kind of a jerk.

  • smartacus


  • smartacus

    GM is laughing all the way to the bank with their paltry $900Million settlement for actually killing people

  • TC

    Bill, you’re a broken record. Nobody cares about your 50 mpg. You’ve posted it like 10 times already on other sections too. Even if you get 100 mpg, that’s irrelevant to this issue.
    The point is, VW deliberately deceived and lied to consumers and government agencies. They promised a certain level of emissions but deliberately didn’t deliver. You may be fine with that, or be happy to trade that off against improved fuel economy, but millions of others are not. It’s not only the emissions itself, but their blatant and deliberate attempt to deceive that most people are upset about.
    They deserve every cent of the billions of dollars of fines coming to them.This is a monumental failure of them, way beyond just human or manufacturing errors – it’s deliberate deception.
    It’s hard to see their brand ever recovering, even if they financially survive the billions of dollars of fines, and huge lawsuits that will be coming.

  • Mark S

    We may not have signed the Kyoto agreement, pollute more than most….but if any country on the planet knows how to sue people and companies, it is us. Gotta fix the deficit somehow.

  • Cody Beisel

    Why so serious? Obviously bill is happy with the product and cares less about the politics and more about the product. As long as vw has class leading cars this will be water under the bridge and forgiven. Gm got off the hook way to easy with the ignition switch scandal (I was a victim of the switch who suffered an accident when my cobalt ss shut itself off on the freeway and was not compensated). As far as I’m concerned vw has already made a much larger step to addressing their products flaws and correcting them. This isn’t a health or safety concern, I wouldn’t waste any effort worrying about this. Bad business practice that won’t change public opinion for very long. If gm is still selling cars that aren’t best in class and they have had strong sales vw should bounce out of this pretty easily. Look at toyota they are a number one seller and the scandal they had didn’t affect sales much after the initial year of the scandal. I wouldn’t trade a diesel in for my money they are awesome cars and I agree with bill, just drive and enjoy the product. Might affect return buyers, but not current owners. It would be different if the car shut off randomly or accelerator stuck unexpectedly. Just not that big of a deal few people get fired and the company moves on.

  • Mark S

    VW shares go down, but I bet there are some folks gonna buy those shares pretty quick at this price and bank of this going away in a few years.