By on October 8, 2015

Michael Horn

In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)

In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.

(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)

Horn’s testimony indicates that Volkswagen’s voluntary recall in 2014 was done in conjunction with appropriate “agencies” after they notified the automaker in September of that year of its non-compliance of its 2-liter diesel engines.

Horn will also tell authorities that it has withdrawn application for certification its 2016 model year cars with 2.0-liter diesel engines equipped with “defeat device” ECUs.

These events are deeply troubling. I did not think that something like this was possible at the Volkswagen Group. We have broken the trust of our customers, dealerships, and employees, as well as the public and regulators.

Horn goes on later to say that the automaker will take full responsibility for the scandal that impacts up to 11 million cars — 482,000 in the U.S. — despite mentioning 30 seconds earlier that he heard there was a problem and thought everything was taken care of.

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10 Comments on “Volkswagen in America CEO Had More Than One Year To Deal With Cheating Diesels...”


  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Earlier this year, VW launched an “emissions service action” campaign (the somewhat famous “23O6” campaign) – not a recall, but a service action. What exactly this software update did to TDI cars is still a big mystery. VW claimed it was to prevent the CEL from erroneously lighting in some driving conditions, but who knows what it actually did. The dealer service dept that performed it on my car said they weren’t sure what it did exactly.

    Anyway, I had it done and can’t tell a difference in performance, fuel econ, etc. Some of the best and brightest over at ClubTDI claim that it increases the frequency of DPF and NOX regens. Bizarre.

    Wonder if this new bit of info is related to the service action. Probably.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      That reflash was just another attempt at cheating. It just stays in defeat mode longer. Apparently VW is so arogant they didn’t think CARB would do more than run the regular test for a longer period of time. It does increase the amount of time that the car meets emissions but it still reverts to heavy pollute mode for normal driving.

      That second cheat is what really pissed off CARB and the EPA and led to to the revocation of the certificate of compliance for the 2016 models.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    “despite mentioning 30 seconds earlier that he heard there was a problem and thought everything was taken care of.”

    Is he Hillary Clinton in drag?

    His resume looks sound if he wants to run for President.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I think you are being more than a bit harsh on him here. He’s essentially in charge of a marketing and sales operation; all engineering is done by Germany.

    He was informed a year ago there was a problem with regulatory compliance, this information was forwarded on to the engineers who take care of that sort of thing, who delivered what they said was a fix. Why would he have any reason to doubt they were being truthful?

    “Horn goes on later to say that the automaker will take full responsibility for the scandal that impacts up to 11 million cars — 482,000 in the U.S. — despite mentioning 30 seconds earlier that he heard there was a problem and thought everything was taken care of.”

    I’m not seeing anything inconsistent here. A year ago, he thought everything was taken care of, but he learned (at around the same time everybody else did) that this was in fact false. He’s admitted it was false, and that VW is now going to make it right.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Unless VWoA does the engineering (and it doesn’t), this guy isn’t in a position to add anything meaningful to the proceedings.

  • avatar

    I enjoy snark as much as the next person, but yeah I agree – Mr. Cole is reaching a little here.

    Considering that investigators are tearing up offices and private homes in Wolfsburg, I’d say someone’s on the case.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Considering that everyone involved in the crime and the cover up is facing potential financial consequences and/or jail time, what else can we expect him to say?

    Right now the words of VW executives have little real meaning. They are all spinning like drunken dreidels.

  • avatar
    BrunoT

    “last spring” was in 2015, not 2014. You guys ever consider hiring an editor?


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