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VW meeting with US authorities ends quickly

Volkswagen and US authorities have met to find a solution to the "dieselgate" saga. But the meeting was short and comes a day after California authorities deemed VW's dirty-diesel recall plan "unacceptable."

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VW sign in the US

VW CEO Matthias Müller on Wednesday met with Gina McCarthy of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for about an hour to discuss Volkswagen's plans to recall around 600,000 2-liter diesel engine vehicles in the US, which were fitted with software that allowed them to cover up excessive emissions.

Following the meeting, both Müller and McCarthy said that they would continue to work together to find a solution to the crisis, although details on whether concrete plans had been agreed upon and what those plans entailed were not disclosed.

Tense environment

The meeting came just one day after

California's environmental regulator (CARB) said

VW's proposals for the recall, which were submitted at the end of last year, "[lacked] enough information for a technical evaluation" and that they did "not adequately address overall impacts on vehicle performance, emissions and safety."

Watch video 01:54

Volkswagen CEO faces EPA chief

The Washington, D.C.-based EPA backed CARB's verdict.

CARB chairwoman 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 on Tuesday.

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."

In September last year, VW admitted to having used cheating software in about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide 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)

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