He also confirmed media reports that three people at the company had been suspended.
“On behalf of our company, and my colleagues in Germany, I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” he told Congress this afternoon. He said it would take at least two years to fix all the cars affected in the country.
“We have broken the trust of our customers, dealerships, and employees, as well as the public and regulators.”
When asked if he felt personally betrayed by the scandal he said: “I’ve work 25 years of this company and I thought integrity and not cheating was a given with this company.”
He denied the board had any involvement or knowledge of the scandal.
On whether he understood how the defeat devices that can detect when a vehicle is an emissions test, he answered: “No, I do not. I am not an engineer."
Some were unimpressed with his apology.
“Cheaters never prosper,” said Fred Upton, one law maker. “If you were willing to cut corners here what else have they done?”
“VW has betrayed a nation – a nation of regulators, loyalists, and innocent customers...It’s time to clean it up or get off the road.”
Congressman Chris Collins said: “I categorically reject everything VW is saying about some rogue engineers...it goes way above that.”
Asked about the impact of the pollution Horn said the emissions of Volkswagens were a tiny proportion of total Nox emissions, even if multiplied by 40 – the amount over the legal Nox limit defective vehicles are found to emit. However, he cautioned that it was still not acceptable.
He said he’d known about the violation since 3 September, but in his opening remarks he said he was told of some emissions issues in 2014.