German prosecutors raid Volkswagen offices

US boss appears before US legislators as Irish MD due before Oireachtas committee next week

Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal

Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal

 

German prosecutors raided Volkswagen’s headquarters and other offices on Thursday as part of their investigation into the carmaker’s rigging of diesel emissions tests.

Prosecutors from Braunschweig, close to the German company’s home town of Wolfsburg, said they were targeting documents and data storage devices that might help with their inquiries.

Volkswagen said it was supporting the investigation and had handed over a “comprehensive” range of documents.

Almost three weeks after it confessed publicly to rigging US emissions tests, Europe’s largest carmaker is under huge pressure to identify those responsible, fix affected vehicles and clarify exactly how and where the cheating happened.

It comes as the car giant’s head of US operations, Michael Horn, told US legislators that in the Spring of 2014 “I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied.”

“I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue,” he said, without identifying the people providing him with the information.

Volkswagen has suspended more than 10 senior managers, including three top engineers, as part of an internal investigation. It has also hired US law firm Jones Day to conduct an external inquiry.

At the US Energy & Commerce Committee hearing in Washington DC on Thursday afternoon several members called for VW to introduce a buyback scheme for the nearly 500,000 affected vehicles in the US.

Mr Horn was asked by congressman Joe Barton about the knowledge of the cheating on tests at senior management level. “Do you really believe that as good - as well run - as Volkswagen is always reputed to be, that senior level corporate managers had no knowledge for years and years?”

“I agree that’s very hard to believe,” said Mr Horn. “Personally I struggle with it as well.”

In written testimony to a US congressional oversight panel, Volkswagen’s top US executive said the carmaker has withdrawn its certification application for some 2016 model year vehicles due to a software feature that should have been disclosed to US and California regulators as an auxiliary emissions control device, or AECD.

Up to 110,000 Audis, Skodas, Volkswagens and Seats on Irish roads are affected by the defeat device.

Volkswagen Group Ireland has confirmed its managing director Lars Himmer will appear before the Oireachtas Transport Committee on October 15th to discuss the emissions scandal.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley said: “The fact that the company was caught cheating emissions tests is extremely serious. Consumers are rightly annoyed about it and Volkswagen has a lot to do to win back public confidence. I look forward to questioning the Managing Director of the Ireland Group and getting answers for affected consumers.”