Volkswagen is hoping to close the door on the diesel emissions scandal next month, as it prepares to mount a comeback in the US.
A number of VW owners and the US Department of Justice sued the motor company after it admitted in September to cheating on emissions tests for 11m vehicles globally. The scandal hammered the company's share price, and prompted the departure of a number of the firm's senior execs – including chief executive Martin Winterkorn.
VW agreed last month to buy back or fix nearly 500,000 diesel cars in the United States that were fitted with devices to cheat emissions testing. The provisional agreement also includes a remediation fund to offset some of the environmental damage caused by the scandal.
The US and VW are working towards a 21 June deadline to complete details of the settlement.
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Once a final settlement is agreed upon, VW can move forward with plans to expand its electric vehicle offerings in the US. This would allow the group to meet a growing demand for green cars, and, crucially, help the company restore its image, VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said in an interview published today.
"A final agreement with US authorities would certainly provide relief and, at the same time, give the go-ahead to look and plan ahead," Stackmann said.
"We are not working on a defensive strategy for the United States but what we want to achieve in North America is not only to gain a foothold but to grow again."