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Monday 24 October 2016

VW is accused of 'butt-covering' as recall tally spirals

Published 22/10/2015 | 02:30

THE number of Volkswagen Group vehicles recalled here has spiralled by another 9,000 - bringing the final total to nearly 116,000.

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It had previously been announced that around 107,000 were affected. But the larger figure of 115,917 was included in an outline statement to a Dáil committee yesterday.

A spokesman later confirmed to the Irish Independent that the new total includes a significant number of additional imports as well as some older cars.

And Volkswagen Ireland's boss was left in no doubt about the fear and indignation of those 115,917 customers in the course of a grilling by committee members into the 'cheat device' scandal.

Time and again Lars Himmer (right) was told how betrayed long-standing and loyal customers are feeling - and how fearful they are over the re-sale values of their cars.

But Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley described his statements as "butt-covering" exercises and smacking of "textbook PR spin".

Mr Himmer apologised profusely at the Dáil's Joint Committee on Transport and Communications for the breach of trust. And he promised no stone would be unturned in putting things right.

But it cut little ice with members who were reflecting the worries of those who own the cars, vans and imports about to be recalled for remedial work in the new year.

He did confirm that the recalled cars will have changes made to their software and, in many cases, will have their injectors replaced. He said they were doing everything to ensure there would be no change in fuel consumption or performance.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the scandal, Mr Himmer said: "I would like to express my sincere apologies that our group has significantly let down our customers, our staff, our dealers and the wider public."

He added: "As a group, we accept that we mishandled these tests and we will fix this at our expense and in a way that minimises any disruption to our customers or other stakeholders."

Repeatedly asked about fears over the re-sale values of cars affected, he said they would "address" the issue and would work "very hard to fix it".

And answering queries about finding the culprits involved in the scam, he said: "The sooner we know the who and what the better. We really want to find the right people." He said investigations are continuing but he didn't have any "insights".

Irish Independent

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