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VW to Recall 8.5M Cars in Emissions Scandal

FILE - The Volkswagen logo is seen on the hood of a 2012 Beetle at a Volkswagen dealership.

Volkswagen says it will recall 8.5 million cars in Europe as a result of a scandal involving rigged emission software.

The move was prompted by German automotive regulator KBA (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt), which earlier ordered Volkswagen to recall 2.4 million of its vehicles containing software rigged to outsmart vehicle emissions tests.

German media reported that KBA rejected Volkswagen's suggestion that car owners could voluntarily bring their cars in for the fix.

The company has drawn criticism for being slow to respond to the scandal that broke late last month when U.S. authorities announced they had discovered the problem.

Last week Volkswagen's top U.S. executive, Michael Horn, issued a "sincere apology" during congressional testimony about the scandal involving almost half-a-million of its "clean diesel" vehicles in the United States.

The issue concerns Volkswagen's use of software to cheat the system by switching pollution controls on during emissions tests, but shutting them off during normal driving. Volkswagen admitted that some 11 million of the German carmaker's diesel vehicles worldwide contained the software.

Horn: Events 'deeply troubling'

In prepared remarks, Horn said the events are deeply troubling and that the auto giant has broken the trust of its customers, dealerships and employees, as well as the public and regulators. Horn said Volkswagen takes full responsibility for its actions and is "working with all relevant authorities in a cooperative way." He said Volkswagen is determined to make things right.

Last month, Volkswagen appointed Matthias Mueller as its new chief executive officer to help the automaker recover from the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history. Mueller replaced Martin Winterkorn, who had been CEO since 2007 and quit the job over the scandal.

In the United States, several lawsuits have already been filed against the automaker. U.S. environmental regulators say Volkswagen faces fines of up to $18 billion.