Volkswagen's CEO said he is "deeply sorry" for violating U.S. emissions standards and ordered an external investigation Sunday, two days after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the automaker of purposefully manipulating emissions tests for almost 500,000 vehicles.
The German automaker ordered its U.S. dealerships to stop selling cars impacted by the probe until its engineers can deliver a fix.
The EPA accused Volkswagen of installing software on 482,000 diesel cars in the USA that allowed it to cheat emissions tests, potentially exposing people to harmful pollutants at levels of 40 times the acceptable standard and respiratory conditions such as asthma.
"I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public," Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's CEO, said in a statement. "We will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly and completely establish all of the facts of this case." Winterkorn pledged to regain the public's trust.
The violations could expose Volkswagen — the world's largest vehicle manufacturer through the first six months of 2015 — to up to $18 billion in federal fines if the EPA assesses the maximum possible penalty of $37,500 per vehicle.
The violations could invite charges of false marketing by regulators, a vehicle recall and payment to car owners, either voluntarily or through lawsuits. Volkswagen advertised the cars under the "Clean Diesel" moniker.
The state of California is investigating the emissions violations.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/car ... /72519678/