By Ryan Beene, Crain News Service
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 7, 2016) — Volkswagen A.G.'s brand chief isn't giving up on diesels in the U.S. market.
That's despite the company's emissions scandal that has undermined the eco-friendly credentials of the niche powertrain.
Herbert Diess said that diesels will continue to have a role in Volkswagen's U.S. lineup because, with the latest emissions technologies, diesels can be clean. He also touted the long range and high torque of diesel engines.
“I wouldn't give up diesel, even in the U.S.,” Mr. Diess told reporters on the sidelines of VW's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote address in Las Vegas the evening of Jan. 5.
VW is scrambling to receive U.S. regulatory approval for fixes to nearly 500,000 diesels fitted with illegal emissions software designed to manipulate nitrogen oxide emissions measurements on government tests.
The car maker submitted a draft plan to fix the noncompliant diesels to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in November and has been in talks with the regulators since.
Those talks “have not produced an acceptable way forward,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Enforcement, said in a statement Jan. 4 announcing the U.S. government's civil suit against VW for the emissions violations.
Volkswagen A.G. CEO Matthius Mueller plans to meet with the EPA in Washington, D.C., next week to discuss the matter, Reuters reported Jan. 4.
In his keynote remarks, Mr. Diess called the ongoing talks with regulators “constructive” and said the company has made “significant progress” in recent weeks. He said he was “optimistic” that the VW would receive regulatory approval for the fix plans “within the coming weeks and months.”