Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller rolled out the blueprint for how the embattled automaker plans to make its 11 million faulty diesel vehicles comply with emissions laws just in time for the Wednesday, Oct. 7 deadline that Germany's KBA watchdog gave it.
If everything goes according to plan, Mueller told German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Volkswagen will begin the recall in January and that all the cars should be fixed by the end of 2016. Mueller added that, in some cases, a software update will suffice to fix the issue, but in others, Volkswagen will have to install new parts, specifically mentioning fuel injectors or catalytic converters. He didn't even rule out giving VW owners entirely new cars.
With the new parts and possibly new cars being part of the recall, its original estimate of $6.5 billion could grow significantly. That doesn't include regulatory fines that countries could slap the automaker with nor lawsuits from owners and drivers of the cars.
In delving into the worst scandal in the company's 78-year-history — and one of the worst that the auto industry has ever seen, period — Mueller said that VW's former CEO, Martin Winterkorn, who resigned two weeks back, could have been more involved in the software used in the cars.
Mueller also said that a small group at the automaker is to blame for its cars' software being used to cheat on emissions tests. Vehicles affected by the emissions cheating scandal stretch from the United States to Germany, to France, Italy and Australia.
While Volkswagen is undoubtedly looking at an uphill climb back to restoring its once-fine image with the public, Mueller does see opportunity even amid this scandal.
"This crisis gives us an opportunity to overhaul Volkswagen's structures," Mueller told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. "We want to make the company slimmer, more decentralized and give the brands more responsibility."