MUNICH – Volkswagen AG will start fixing emissions systems that cheated on pollution tests as soon as October, as sales of vehicles with the rigged diesel engines are halted in a growing number of European countries.
Cars with the affected diesel engines are being pulled from markets including Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium, while prosecutors in Sweden consider opening an investigation on potential corruption and a criminal complaint was filed in Spain. For autos already sold, Volkswagen is looking to inform customers soon about the steps it will take to repair the vehicles.
"It's going to depress their market share for a while, maybe even up to one to two years," said Richard Gane, an automotive specialist at supply-chain consulting company Vendigital Ltd. "This is going to run and run."
After dodging U.S. regulators for almost a year and publicly admitting to cheating on diesel emissions almost two weeks ago, Volkswagen is now pushing ahead to rectify cars that turned on full pollution controls only during tests. Regulators will be informed of a solution in October, the company said Tuesday. Affected customers will then be notified that the emissions of their vehicles can be improved in the "coming weeks and months," without saying what impact the repairs will have on performance.
The scandal involves a type of diesel engine installed in as many as 11 million vehicles worldwide. The number includes about 5 million VW brand cars, 2.1 million Audi models, 1.8 million VW delivery vans, 1.2 million autos from the Skoda unit and 700,000 from the Spanish Seat nameplate.
To contact customers, Volkswagen plans to set up websites in various countries so drivers can check on actions locally. The carmaker has already set up a site in the U.S., the starting point of the scandal that's wiped out 28.6 billion euros ($32.1 billion) from the company's market value.
The German government has set an Oct. 7 deadline for Volkswagen to say how it'll bring some 2.8 million diesels in its home market up to standard, threatening to pull the cars off the road if the manufacturer fails to do so. The scandal has already hurt the VW and Audi brands' reputations in the country, according to polling firm YouGov.