The German car manufacturer’s supervisory board stood by its Chief Executive Officer Matthias Muellereven after the Volkswagen CEO sparked a media firestorm in the United States that complicated efforts to clear up the diesel emissions scandal the company is currently facing.
Mueller’s role was never under discussion and any speculation to the contrary will be “emphatically rejected,” a spokesman for the German carmaker said in an emailed statement on Tuesday, following a meeting between the CEO and supervisory board leaders. At the gathering, Mueller confirmed that he believes the company breached legal codes and overstepped ethical boundaries when it cheated on diesel emissions.
The German CEO drew a lot of criticism after telling a National Public Radio interviewer that Volkswagen “did not lie” when they were first asked about the irregularities between real life and test emissions in its diesel cars. Mueller then apologized in a follow-up interview and blamed his initial statements on noisy surroundings.
Volkswagen has been struggling to find a path out of the scandal in the U.S., where so far it’s failed to get regulatory approval for a fix for diesel cars it rigged to pass emissions tests. The company admitted last September that it had deceived consumers and regulators since 2009 in a scandal involving 11 million vehicles worldwide. A recall in Europe has since started.
The German car manufacturer is still investigating how the deception originated and how it went on for so many years. The company said Tuesday that an investigation being run by U.S. law firm Jones Day has made significant strides in recent weeks, and a report is planned for the carmaker’s shareholder meeting in April.
The company’s global sales last year declined 2 percent to 9.93 million vehicles. This year 2016 will be no less challenging for the company as the issue is still not clear yet. Halting sales of cars with diesel engines in the U.S. triggered a slump in VW-brand deliveries in North America.