Volkswagen CEO Matthias Muller has confirmed that the VW Diesel Recall is scheduled to begin in January 2016 in order to replace the faulty software that was installed within Volkswagen vehicles from 2009-2015. At this time, the company continues to provide few details beyond the fact that they will be unrolling some type of fix to resolve the issue. It remains to be seen whether this will be the installation of a new computer for the vehicles, or if it will merely be a software patch that vehicle owners can download at their local dealership. The company is currently working with the German Federal Motor Transport Authority to determine a viable solution.
The vague answers and public apology the company is providing are doing little to assuage the growing anger among vehicle owners, shareholders, and regulatory agencies currently investigating the actions of senior Volkswagen officials who had knowledge of the faulty software’s installation and purpose. In addition to Muller’s mea culpa issued under the growing weight of the scandal, the company has announced that they will be conducting their own internal investigation to determine who was involved. The stated goal of the investigation is to determine what role these individuals played in the planning, preparation, and execution of the fraud. This internal investigation is being conducted with the assistance of the auditing firm, Deloitte.
In addition to announcing the impending VW Diesel Recall, the company has announced that they will be reviewing their vehicle portfolio which currently has more than 300 models within it. The goal of this internal study is to determine which models to cut from their production and service lines in order to streamline operations and cut costs. This will be necessary as it is estimated the financial cost of the scandal could exceed $100 billion. So far, there has been no confirmation as to whether the vehicles impacted by the VW Diesel Recall will “make the cut.”
Within the United States, the Federal Trade Commission announced this week that it is investigating the deceptive marketing practices the company utilized to sell the vehicles affected by the VW Diesel Recall. Should the FTC determine that the company deliberately defrauded consumers by selling them “clean diesel” technology that did not perform as advertised, the agency has the authority to fine the company many millions of dollars on top of the fines they are currently facing from the EPA, as well as other state and federal agencies.