U.S. says talks will continue to reach VW diesel emissions fix

Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:38pm EST
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By Jan Schwartz, Georgina Prodhan and David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. environmental officials said on Wednesday talks will continue with Volkswagen aimed at reaching an agreement on a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that emit up to 40 times legally allowable limits.

Nearly four months after the emissions scandal broke, there is no timetable for winning approval of a fix - or for starting to repair vehicles or lifting the government's ban on the sale of 2016 VW diesel models.

VW Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller met with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy for an hour at the agency's headquarters Wednesday. It was the highest level meeting between U.S. and VW officials since the scandal became public in September.

"We will continue to work toward a solution," an EPA spokeswoman said.

The company has faced growing criticism on the handling of the crisis and some U.S. government officials were angered - including Connecticut's Attorney General - by a radio interview in which Mueller suggested that VW officials did not lie to hide the emissions software.

Mueller said earlier this week that he planned to propose a fix at the meeting, which the German automaker had requested. Neither VW nor the EPA would answer questions about whether the proposal was made or how it may have been received.

The meeting, which also included Herbert Diess, head of the company's VW brand, came one day after California rejected VW's plan submitted in December as "inadequate" and not fast enough - and EPA agreed.

Mueller left the agency headquarters at around 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) without making any comments.   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