Small group of employees to blame for emissions scandal: VW

German automobile giant Volkswagen has said only a small group of employees was responsible for cheating US diesel emissions tests, but it could take months to find out who exactly was part of that group, agencies reported.

VW chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said external investigations into the affair by US law firm Jones Day were progressing well, but so far there was no indication that any member of the company’s board was involved.

The scandal, Poetsch said, was the result of a "chain of errors".

VW, Europe's biggest car manufacturer, said it had agreed on steps to improve supervision of engine-software development to avoid any future emissions test manipulations.

It also hoped to reach agreement with the US Environment Protection Agency in the next few weeks so that it could recall affected cars there for rectifying the engine software.
In September, VW admitted that it had cheated US emissions tests and installed software capable of deceiving regulators on up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, news that wiped billions of euros off its market value and forced out its long-time CEO.

But the company’s reputation got a boost on Wednesday when it said another scandal involving the understatement of carbon dioxide emissions was not as bad as feared.

Despite the emissions scandal, orders so far this year are up by 3.5 per cent and new CEO Matthias Mueller said he was confident drivers would get over their reluctance to buy the group's vehicles.
But executives are still unable to estimate the scandal's legal costs. Analysts have said VW could have to pay out tens of billions of euros to cover regulatory fines, lawsuits and vehicle refits.
Mueller, who has not been to the US since becoming CEO, said he would visit the country for the Detroit motor show in January and contact authorities while there.

Speaking at the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg, Mueller said he would apologize for the situation, but added: "I don't think I will be going down on my knees... I will look ahead optimistically and confidently."