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Volkswagen Elects New Chairman of its Board of Directors


FILE - A 2013 Volkswagen Passat with a diesel engine is evaluated at the California Air Resources Board emissions test lab in El Monte, Calif.

Volkswagen elected its chief financial officer as chairman of its board of directors, as the German carmaker struggles with the scandal of emission test-rigging in the United States.

Hans Dieter Poetsch said Wednesday it will take some time to clear up the diesel emission scandal. Poetsch expressed his commitment to do everything possible to shed light on what happened. Poetsch spoke after the meeting at company headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

"The public and above all our clients have a right to be informed comprehensively. Presumptions or vague preliminary facts of the matter help no one," said Poetsch. "That's why it will still take some time until there are confirmed and reliable results which we can then inform you about."

Ahead of the announcement, Volkswagen’s new chief executive officer, Matthias Mueller, said he hopes the company can begin recalling vehicles in January, and perhaps finish repairing all affected vehicles by the end of next year. He made his comments in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

VW defeat device
VW defeat device

Major crossroads

Volkswagen has been under pressure from European authorities to announce a plan for resolving the scandal, which has resulted in the worst crisis of confidence in its 78-year history.

Volkswagen had equipped about half-a-million diesel cars in the U.S. with software that switched pollution controls on during tests, but shut off anti-pollution devices during normal driving.

Volkswagen admitted a few days after the September 18 revelation that the software had been installed on 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Mueller said some vehicles will need only minor adjustments, but he added that he anticipates a variety of different adjustments among the affected cars, taking into account their make and model as well as a country's emissions regulations.

Containment approach

Mueller said at least four people responsible for the scandal already have left the company. He said this crisis will force Volkswagen to cut costs, but the company will fight to limit the impact of the scandal on its 600,000-person workforce.

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

The German carmaker also said 1.8 million commercial vehicles are among those fitted with the fraudulent software.