VW CEO says new catalytic converter could fix U.S. cars

Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:06am EST
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By Andreas Cremer

DETROIT (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE will propose to U.S. authorities a new catalytic converter system that could be fitted to about 430,000 cars capable of cheating diesel emissions tests, Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said on Sunday.

"We have one (catalytic converter) in the works and we believe that will be a part of the technical solutions," Mueller told reporters at a VW event on the eve of the Detroit auto show.

Asked whether he expects the new catalytic converter to bring 430,000 rigged U.S. cars into line with emissions standards, the CEO replied: "Yes, we believe that this is possible."

Mueller is meeting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy on Wednesday, where he plans to make his proposal.

Mueller expressed optimism that VW and the EPA would be able to bridge their differences. McCarthy has previously bemoaned that both sides have failed to develop "a satisfactory way forward" despite months of talks.

"I think we can now offer a package that will come very close to what the EPA is expecting from us," the CEO said.

Part of the proposal will be an offer by the German company to repurchase some of the affected U.S. cars, said Mueller, but declined to elaborate. Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper last week said‎ VW may need to buy back around 115,000 U.S. vehicles.

"We will offer some solutions and we will see how the reaction (from the EPA) will be," said Mueller. "‎We are confident that we will find a good solution."   Continued...

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Muller speaks at their media reception during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Blinch