Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller personally apologized to President Obama for the company’s emissions scandal during a 2-minute conversation during a visit by the US leader in Hanover, Germany this week. The scandal broke when the US Environmental Protection Agency took action against the German automaker for rigging its cars to cheat on diesel engine pollution tests, resulting in the recall of more than 11 million vehicles worldwide.
Not only did Mueller address the President face-to-face, but he also expressed his “thanks for the constructive cooperation with his authorities, and hope that I can continue to fulfill my responsibilities for 600,000 workers and their families, suppliers and dealers in the US,” during the annual news conference at VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg.
Although the EPA could levy fines against the company for as much as $18 billion, industry analysts do not believe it will be that dramatic. In the meantime, VW has set aside more than $16 billion euros from last year’s earnings to cover the costs of fixes, possible buyback of some 500,000 defective vehicles, and legal fees involved with the scandal throughout the globe. In the end, the cost could be even higher than the company’s figure when the impact on lower sales is added in.