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Volkswagen working hard to get through 'dieselgate': CEO

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Volkswagen boss Matthias Mueller said on Wednesday that the troubled German automaker is using "all available resources" to work its way through the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal which has engulfed it.

[PARIS] Volkswagen boss Matthias Mueller said on Wednesday that the troubled German automaker is using "all available resources" to work its way through the "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal which has engulfed it.

One year after the scandal erupted, it "is and will remain an incisive turning point, a pivotal event in our history," VW chief executive Mueller said on the eve of the opening of the Paris motor show.

The trouble arose after the carmaker admitting using so-called "defeat devices" in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, which increase exhaust treatment when the car detects it is undergoing regulatory tests.

The software deactivates the emissions system when the car is on the road, leading to levels of harmful nitrogen oxides in the exhaust many times higher than allowed.

"We are working with all available resources to get to the roots of this crisis and work our way through all of the issues. And we have made substantial progress," said Mr Mueller.

Volkswagen investors have filed 1,400 lawsuits seeking 8.2 billion euros (S$12.5 billion) in damages over the emissions cheating scandal, a German court said last week, adding to the embattled car giant's legal woes.

Investors say the automaker failed to disclose details of the case in a timely way, leading them to lose money as the group's share price plunged by 40 per cent in two days after the crisis erupted last September.

The US government and several German state governments are also among the claimants Another claimant is Blackrock, the world's largest fund manager, and a group of institutional shareholders who are suing VW for 2 billion euros.

The total cost to Volkswagen is expected to amount to tens of billions of euros.

At the Paris motor show VW will unveil an electric concept car it says is "as revolutionary as the Beetle was seven decades ago". The company says it will be capable of covering 480km without recharging.

Mr Mueller said the company planned to develop and manufacture more than 30 new electric vehicles by 2025.

However he added that diesel and petrol engines would retain their place in the VW ranks in the medium term.

AFP