Volkswagen has decided to provide fewer diesel models to North America, pulling the plug on the certification of its diesel models for the coming model year.
The Wolfsburg, Germany auto giant spent a lot of money and energy getting North American consumers to forget the “diesel is dirty” line of thinking, and in the process became the leader in diesel new model sales on the continent. But in light of the cheating scandal that will cost the company uncounted billions more, it will likely also mean it gives up its title as the diesel king of North America and perhaps also the global sales title.
Testifying before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn apologized for the company’s deception, stating the company had “broken the trust of our customers, dealerships and employees, as well as the public and regulators.”
The hearings are taking place as a second piece of software comes under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to see if it too was meant to defeat emissions testing.
“In Volkswagen Group of America’s recent discussions with regulators, we described to the EPA and CARB that our emissions control strategy also included a software feature that should be disclosed to and approved by them,” said a company statement.
In light of the new investigation, Volkswagen has pulled the request for certification of its 2016 fleet of diesel models, which means that for the time being, the TDI symbol will not be present on 2016 Audi and VW models.
The announcement also impacts production at Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant, where roughly a third of output are diesel models. The plant currently produces the Passat mid-sized car and is ramping up to begin production of the company’s highly anticipated midsized SUV in 2016.