Nearly six months after its emissions scandal went public, Volkswagen has yet to issue a solution for its affected U.S. diesels. With the federally ruled deadline to disclose the status of a potential fix fast approaching, it looks like VW’s answer could be “Uh, we’re still working on it.”
Amidst the automaker’s struggle to find a fix suitable to various U.S. agencies, district judge Charles Breyer ruled at the end of February that VW would have until March 24 to declare whether or not it has found a fix. According to Reuters, German newspaper Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung quoted brand chief Herbert Diess as hinting that the company will take longer than its deadline to reach an agreement on how to approach the situation.
The March deadline seemed ambitious at the time, given that it was less than a month out from the ruling. But when considering the timetable of Dieselgate from its inception, Automotive News reports Breyer that said six months “is long enough” to determine whether the situation is a fixable one.
It looks like VW will have to take a rain check for the deadline, though—at least, they’ll likely still be working out the details when it rolls around. As VW tries to gain approval from the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and California Resources Board, Diess said there are “good chances to achieve an agreement with the authorities in the United States in the next months.”
“Months.” Six months? Nine months? Oh—an indefinite number of months. OK. In that case, I’ll be 80 years old in days.
VW considered ideas such as buying back the vehicles and offering “generous” compensation to owners, both of which are expensive options. But expensive isn’t what Diess wants—in order to afford new technologies and keep up with other manufacturers in the “digital age,” Diess told the newspaper that VW would have to continue cost cuts and improve its profitability. From Reuters:
“The Volkswagen brand still has some work to do to become more profitable in coming years,” he said. “We will not get a second chance.”
Diess wants to cede more powers to regional operations and streamline vehicle development as part of a 12-point plan to increase cost savings and ready the brand for the arrival of electric and autonomous mobility.
Per Rueters, Diess, CEO Matthias Mueller, labor boss Bernd Osterloh and Lower Saxony premier Stephan Weil plan to hold a staff meeting at the VW base in Wolfsburg, Germany on Tuesday. There, Diess is expected to outline his plans.
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