VW says can bounce back as recalls 8.5 million EU cars

Thu Oct 15, 2015 12:49pm EDT
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By Jan Schwartz and Andreas Cremer

HAMBURG/BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) can bounce back from the scandal over its rigging of diesel emissions tests in two to three years, its new CEO predicted on Thursday, as the carmaker outlined plans to recall 8.5 million affected vehicles in the European Union.

Matthias Mueller, who took the helm last month after Europe's biggest automaker admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests, said the German company needed to give more power to its brands and regional operations while working to get to the bottom of the biggest business scandal in its history.

"We have a good chance of shining again in two to three years," he said in a speech to Volkswagen managers in Leipzig.

Volkswagen has said up to 11 million vehicles worldwide could contain banned software that allows them to know when they are being tested and temporarily reduce toxic emissions.

The German company said on Thursday it would recall around 8.5 million vehicles affected in the European Union following an order from Germany's KBA automotive watchdog, which is taking the lead for other national EU regulators.

Volkswagen had said previously there were around 8 million vehicles affected in the EU. A spokesman said it was recalling a further 500,000 "voluntarily," but did not know whether they might also contain the cheat software.

The KBA said the recall, involving 2.4 million vehicles in Germany, should start at the beginning of next year and would be mandatory, meaning drivers do not get to chose whether or not to bring in their cars and vans for servicing.

A recall of all 11 million vehicles would be among the biggest in history by a single automaker, similar in scale to Toyota's 2009-2010 recall of more than 10 million vehicles over acceleration problems, though dwarfed by the number recalled by multiple carmakers due to faulty Takata air bags.   Continued...

Volkswagen logos adorn a sign outside a dealership for the German automaker located in the Sydney suburb of Artarmon, Australia, October 3, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray