Volkswagen (VW) first sold a diesel vehicle in Britain equipped with software which rigged the result of emissions tests in 2008, UK managing director Paul Willis told the Commons Transport select committee on 12 October. "It seems around 2008 from the information I have at the moment. I knew nothing about this subject until 19 September this year, when I first heard it on the news from the United States."
During the hearing Willis answered questions from British lawmakers and vowed that Volkswagen would work to win back trust. He also said there were questions around the emissions testing process, and that the firm should discuss with British regulators the possibility of paying towards the re-testing of vehicles.
Willis told Louise Ellman, the chair of the parliamentary committee, that the first recalls of the faulty models will take place in the first quarter of 2016.
"We're determined to get to the bottom of this, because we have to get to the bottom of this issue to regain the trust of our customers. We will call the cars back step by step and I intend in the United Kingdom to contact every single customer to try to call those cars back," said Willis.
The Volkswagen managing director also defended allegations that it was a corporate decision to circumvent the emissions tests. "I find it absolutely implausible that senior people of the company would have known of these issues with regard to the testing regime," he said.
The biggest business crisis in VW's 78-year history has wiped about a third off its share price, forced out its long-time CEO, prompted investigations across the world and shaken both the car industry and German establishment.