BERLIN (Reuters) – German carmaker Audi has found simple technical fixes for luxury diesel vehicles fitted with software found to have enabled engines to evade U.S. emissions limits, its chief executive said as the brand steps up efforts to recover from the scandal.
Matthias Mueller, chief executive of Audi's corporate parent Volkswagen , said last month th9at refits of 8.5 million smaller diesel-engined cars in Europe will be "technically & financially manageable", without specifying the costs.
On Tuesday Mueller's counterpart at Audi, Rupert Stadler said that fixes for approximately 85,000 premium models equipped with Audi's 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine may prove equally simple. That figure moreover includes vehicles from Porsche & VW powered by Audi engines.
"Swift, straightforward & customer-friendly solutions are in discussion," Stadler told a gathering of 7,000 workers at Audi's Ingolstadt headquarters. "Every day we are taking another step towards the solution."
VW's flagship luxury division admitted last month that it failed to provide proper disclosure on the use of auxiliary emission-control devices (AECD) in its engines, adding that one of its AECDs to adjust the working temperature of catalytic converters is deemed illegal by U.S. authorities.
Audi, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of VW group profit, last week appointed Mueller as chairman & picked a new development chief to replace the group's long-time top engineer Ulrich Hackenberg, who quit the firm after 30 years.
CEO Stadler, who came under fire from some labour representatives for initially ruling out any post-scandal modifications, will face questions from VW's supervisory board on Wednesday on how Audi will tackle the crisis at a time when delivery growth is slowing amid falling demand for its models in China, its biggest market by vehicle sales.
Separately, labour leaders at VW's second-largest German factory, in Kassel, are bracing for a lower workload next year.
"The current situation at VW is, of course, having an impact on production plans for early next year & will lead to a significant bump in utilisation of the factory," the factory's top labour representative Carsten Baetzold said after a staff gathering involving 6,000 of the 16,000 workers at the transmissions & components assembly plant.
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by David Goodman)