WASHINGTON – Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn and the Environmental Protection Agency are scheduled to testify before a Congressional oversight panel on October 8, as American consumers are still waiting for a formal recall of 482,000 Volkswagen vehicles included in the cheating scandal on diesel-emissions tests.
The hearing is entitled “Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheating Allegations: Initial Questions.”
Lawmakers said they want to know the “facts and circumstances surrounding Volkswagen’s reported Clean Air Act violations and what they mean for consumers and the general public.”
Volkswagen’s reputation has taken a major hit with car shoppers, according to a new study released late last week.
Consulting firm AutoPacific said only one out of four vehicle owners have a positive opinion of Volkswagen following its cheating scandal, compared to three out of four prior to hearing the news.
The Congressional hearing and AutoPacific study follow the EPA’s September 18 revelation that Volkswagen had added software code to its digital engine controllers to comply with emissions requirements during testing. But during real-world driving conditions, the vehicles produced as much as 40 times the allowed level of pollutants.
“The American people want to know why these devices were in place, how the decision was made to install them, and how they went undetected for so long,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in a statement. “We will get them those answers.”
The subcommittee is expected to post Horn’s written testimony on its Web site prior to the hearing.
September sales numbers released on October 1 by Volkswagen of America showed a slight gain compared to the same month a year ago. But the overall auto industry recorded a double-digit gain for September.
The cheating scandal involves certain Volkswagen vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter four-cylinder TDI engines.
The vehicles include the 2012-’15 Volkswagen Passat TDI, 2009-’15 Volkswagen Jetta TDI and 2009-’14 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen TDI.
The 2010-’15 Volkswagen Golf TDI, 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen TDI and 2012-’15 Volkswagen Beetle TDI and Volkswagen Beetle Convertible TDI are also included.
Volkswagen previously said it is “committed to finding a remedy as soon as possible.”
The German automaker also restructured its North American operations last week. Starting on November 1, Skoda chief Winfried Vahland takes over as CEO of the new Volkswagen North America Region.
Edmunds says: Upset consumers may get some answers this week to the questions in this ongoing crisis.