Volkswagen starts telling customers if affected by emissions scandal

Fri Oct 2, 2015 1:20pm EDT
 
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By Andreas Cremer and Barbara Lewis

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Two weeks after it admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen provided the first information on Friday allowing customers to find out if their vehicles are affected.

The German carmaker, which has said it will have to refit up to 11 million cars and vans containing illegal software, rolled out a website page that tells owners who input data about their vehicles whether they will have to bring them into the garage.

Volkswagen is under huge pressure to get to grips with the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history, which has wiped more than a third off its share price, forced out its long-time CEO and rocked both the auto industry and German establishment.

The head of its U.S. business has been called to testify before lawmakers next Thursday, and Germany's KBA watchdog has set an Oct. 7 deadline for it to come up with a refit plan.

While the company started provided information on Friday, customers will not yet know whether the refits will leave their vehicles with diminished fuel economy and performance -- problems that could potentially multiply lawsuits against the Volkswagen and further sully its reputation.

Volkswagen, Europe's biggest carmaker, said earlier on Friday it was taking time to come up with solutions because automatic and manual vehicles and models with different engine categories needed different fixes.

In a sign of the complexity, Belgian car importer D'Ieteren told Reuters it had not heard any technical details about the refit yet, and that Volkswagen had committed only to having a plan set by the end of this month.

In the meantime, customers and dealers have been seething.   Continued...

 
A lone bird sits atop of the Volkswagen power plant in Wolfsburg September 22, 2015. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt