VW focused on green credentials

VW focused on green credentials

Volkswagen will channel its energies into green initiatives like electric vehicles and car-sharing services, in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal which has plagued the German giant.

A wide-ranging transformation of the company was laid on Thursday by its chief executive Matthias Mueller, although he reiterated that recalling and fixing cars rigged to pass emissions tests "remains our most important task" until the very last vehicle issue has been rectified.

Stressing that VW's car business remains "fundamentally sound", he also made promises on new schemes to bring to the fore digital services and zero-emissions vehicles.

New hallmarks

Volkswagen will soon form a legally independent company to promote business in mobility services, which can include things like ride-sharing apps and car-sharing, he said.

Mr Mueller said the company would "make electric cars one of Volkswagen's new hallmarks" with 20 new models by 2020.

Volkswagen had previously emphasised diesel technology, which has suffered a blow since it became clear that Volkswagen engines could not meet US emissions standards without cheating.

The company has admitted using engine software which disabled emissions controls when vehicles were not being tested. That improved performance and mileage but meant the vehicles spewed out far more than the legal limit of pollutants.

Apologies

Mr Mueller apologised again for the scandal, telling the company's annual news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany, that "we disappointed many people who trusted Volkswagen".

The company said last week that it made a net loss of 5.5 billion euros (£4.3 billion) for 2015 after setting aside 16.2 billion euros (£12.6 billion) to cover the costs of the scandal. Analysts say the final cost will be significantly higher.