Volkswagen CEO to hold high-level talks in Washington on emissions scandal

Thu Jan 7, 2016 5:32pm EST
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Volkswagen Chief Executive Matthias Mueller will meet with the top U.S. environmental regulator next week for the highest-level talks since the German automaker admitted to using software to evade emissions requirements for 580,000 U.S. vehicles.

Mueller will meet with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy on Wednesday in Washington, at the request of Volkswagen, agency spokeswoman Laura Allen said.

McCarthy told reporters at a forum in Washington that EPA has been holding extensive technical discussions with VW, but declined to predict when a fix would be ready.

"At this point, we haven't identified a satisfactory way forward, but those discussions are going to continue," McCarthy said. "We are really anxious to find a way for that company to get into compliance - and we're not there yet."

The meeting will take place about a week after the U.S. Justice Department filed a civil suit against VW seeking up to $48 billion in damages under the Clean Air Act.

VW declined to comment on the impending meeting. Mueller also plans visits to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers.

EPA and the California Air Resources Board have been pushing VW to do more to fix vehicles and to act faster, and have also been raising more questions about things such as performance of onboard diagnostic sensors.

On Tuesday, VW brand chief Herbert Diess said he was "confident we will find an acceptable solution."   Continued...

Volkswagen (VW) Chief Executive Matthias Mueller makes a statement during a news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany December 10, 2015.  REUTERS/Nigel Treblin