In a press release issued by Volkswagen Group this morning, CEO Matthias Müller — the Porsche boss who was recently promoted to replace Martin Winterkorn — says that the company is "working intensively to develop effective technical solutions" that will reverse the so-called defeat devices installed on millions of the company's diesel models worldwide, and that implementation of the fixes will start in January of next year.
The rest of the statement is mostly a recap of what Müller and other members of VW management have said in recent weeks — the guilty parties should "face severe consequences," and so on — although one new announcement today is that the company has brought on auditing firm Deloitte to help it root out how the cheating happened and who's responsible.
Here come the outside auditors
Müller is also doubling down on his warnings about belt-tightening, saying that "We will review in detail our current portfolio of more than 300 models and examine the contribution that each one makes to our earnings." Volkswagen Group is a sprawling, global company with a number of local and regional brands; depending on just how deep this scandal cuts, it's possible that Müller's organization could need to drop poorly performing brands entirely, as General Motors did as it went through bankruptcy in 2009. Some estimates have placed the total cost to undo the cheat's damage at close to $100 billion.
All of this will lead into the announcement of a new corporate strategy — Müller calls it "Strategy 2025" — which will be announced in the middle of next year. Expect a very different-looking Volkswagen by the time it gets out of this morass.
Correction: The article originally stated that Volkswagen's investigation had been entirely internal prior to Deloitte's hire. Law firm Jones Day was hired by the company to lead the investigation several weeks ago. The article has been updated.