Volkswagen’s US CEO Michael Horn made the admission at the launch of Passat 2015.
“Our company was dishonest, with the EPA and the California Air Resources board, and with all of you and in my German words, we have totally screwed up,” said Horn, the CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America.
Last Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had alleged that Volkswagen diesel cars had much higher toxic emissions than the tests had suggested. It said that the auto giant had rigged the EPA software to deceive the regulators. EPA said that the Volkswagen diesel cars between 2008 and 2015 were the ones that had higher toxic emissions. The software apparently reduced the emitted pollutants during tests.
“We have to make things right, with the government, the public, our customers, our employees and also very important, our dealers…Along with our German headquarters we are committed to do what must be done, and to begin to restore your trust,” said Horn.
Horn’s admission of cheating had a ripple effect across the world and not just in the US. Volkswagen shares plunged a whopping 20% after Horn’s statement on Monday morning. European markets also tanked.
Indian markets were no different. Sensex closed 541 points down to stay below the 26,000 mark at 25,651. Nifty too fell 165 points to settle at 7,812. Both the indices fell sharply in the last few hours of trade.
In the emissions scandal, the US authorities have begun a criminal probe. Volkswagen could face up to $18 billion as penalty in the US for cheating. Several countries including France and South Korea have launched an independent inquiry to probe emission levels from their diesel cars. Meanwhile, the auto giant too has launched an internal investigation.
(With inputs from agencies)