Top officials from carmaker VW headed to a consumer electronics show in Las Vegas this week to highlight future products from the company which will have lower emissions and be internet-linked.
At the same time plans were explained to provide remedies for VW vehicle emission breaches.
Dr Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, told the audience at the CES show that up to 11 million diesel cars worldwide are affected by the emissions issue.
He said: “Of course the current situation with diesel engines is nothing to be proud of. We disappointed our customers and the American people for which I am truly sorry. I apologise. We at Volkswagen are disappointed that this could happen within the company we love. I assure you we are doing everything we can to make things right and we are working night and day to find effective technical remedies for our customers and the authorities worldwide.â€?
Confirming that up to 11 million VW Group cars are affected by this issue, Dr Diess noted that the company has for the large majority of the cars already worked out approved solutions.
“In Europe this holds true for about 8.5 million affected cars,â€? he continued. “The solutions have been ratified by the European authorities and we will start to repair these cars already this month and most of them will be fixed within 2016.
“Here in the US the set of regulations is different compared to Europe. It is more demanding in terms of nitrogen oxide and less demanding in terms of CO2. We are working hard to present an acceptable package to the US authorities, to CARB and to EPA. We are confident that we will find good solutions for the affected US vehicles and our valued US customers. In recent weeks we have made significant progress.â€?
Dr Diess also updated his audience on discussions with the US authorities, just days after it was confirmed that the company faces prosecution in the US. He said: “We are preparing a comprehensive plan on how to bring about 500,000 affected vehicles here in the US into compliance with the emissions regulations. And we are in an ongoing constructive dialogue with EPA and CARB about what is really needed. We greatly appreciate their help and I’m optimistic that we will gain their approval within the coming weeks and months. Once again, we are committed to making things right and we are focused on ensuring something like this can never happen again at Volkswagen.â€?
After updating the audience on the emissions situation, the chairman, turned to the future of the car and promised a new era of vehicles which would be at the heart of the internet.
Dr Diess said: “But there is a second message we would like to bring to you tonight. We are now creating a different and better company, a new Volkswagen. We are in the process of redefining every aspect of Vokswagen…â€?
He went on to claim that cars offer the freedom “to go where you wantâ€? with the freedom of mobility. Reasoning that this means the car will remain the ultimate mobile advice although he said this was now with emissions, accident, noise and congestion. “The car of the future will shed most of these negative aspects. I am sure people will perceive the car much more positively in the future. We now have the technologies to make that happen.â€?
And he said that electric cars will have much better batteries and higher computer power as well as access to an automotive cloud.
“The car will become the most important device in the internet. And when I look a few years into the future, I see a car that is all electric, zero emissions, mitigates virtually all accidents, is smarter than anything we can imagine today and is also incredibly comfortable.â€?