Volkswagen is predicting diesel-powered vehicles will experience a boom in sales once people no longer care the German automaker affixed emission-cheating devices to its cars.
VW is expecting customers to forgive the company for its record of duping regulators about the extent of their diesel fleet’s emission output, CEO Matthias Mueller, who previously promised the company would deviate from diesel-fueled vehicles, said Monday night at the Geneva International Motor Show.
“Diesel will see a renaissance in the not-too-distant future because people who drove diesels will realize that it was a very comfortable drive concept,” Mueller said. “Once the knowledge that diesels are eco-friendly firms up in people’s minds, then for me there’s no reason not to buy one.”
The company was sentenced in April to three years of probation for engaging in the nearly 10-year long scheme. VW must also undergo scrutiny from an independent regulator as part of a $4.3 billion settlement announced in January, as well as pay down a $2.8 billion criminal fine.
The company is hedging its bets on diesel cars outperforming electric vehicles, which many European leaders believe could help them limit their country’s carbon emissions.
Lower demand for diesel cars — which emit about a fifth less carbon dioxide compared to equivalent gasoline vehicles — could force automakers to aggressively push unprofitable electric cars to meet these targets.
“The rules of the game in the EU in relation to climate protection and emissions goals on CO2 are so challenging that governments cannot do without diesel,” Mueller said of the pressure to find vehicles to help reduce emission levels. “We’re doing everything to avoid” coming up short, but “if there’s less diesel, then getting to that goal just gets tougher.”
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