It's back to the drawing board for the German car giant as US authorities have deemed VW's plans to recall cars fitted with emissions cheating software "inadequate." Meanwhile, CEO Müller has insisted VW "did not lie."
California's environmental regulator (CARB) said on Tuesday that VW's proposals "lack enough information for a technical evaluation" and "do not adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety."
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has backed CARB's verdict.
The VW proposals, submitted at the end of last year, have yet to be made public. However,they are thought to include
the installation of a catalytic converter in some 600,000 2-liter diesel engine vehicles in the US, which were fitted with software that allowed them to cover up excessive emissions.
Chairwoman of CARB, Mary Nichols, had stern words for the Wolfsburg-based automaker as she delivered news of the rejected plan: "Volkswagen made a decision to cheat on emissions tests and then tried to cover it up," she said. The carmaker "continued and compounded the lie, and when they were caught they tried to deny it," Nichols added.
Merely a 'misunderstanding'
That's despite VW CEO Matthias Müller, who took over after US authorities uncovered the scandal last year, stating in an interview with US public broadcaster NPR on Tuesday that the company "did not lie" to US regulators about emission problems with its diesel engines. Rather, he said, the scandal was down to a "misunderstanding of US law."
VW responded to the US authorities' decision to reject its recall plans in a statement. "Today's announcement addresses the initial recall plans Volkswagen submitted to CARB in December," the company wrote. "We are committed to working co-operatively with CARB and other regulators, and we plan to continue our discussions tomorrow when we meet with EPA."
In September last year, VW admitted to having used cheating software in about 11 million diesel vehicles that would show the vehicle emitting lower nitrogen oxide emission in tests - emissions that in reality were far beyond those permitted.
hch/pad (AFP, dpa)