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VW brand chief says no evidence of more cheating

Herbert Diess also said he saw no threat of job cuts for permanent staff as a result of the scandal.

VW is grappling with the biggest business crisis in its 78 year history after admitting in September it cheated US emissions tests on diesel vehicles. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

BERLIN - Volkswagen's top brand executive said he saw no evidence of further misconduct at the carmaker beyond diesel-emission and carbon-dioxide manipulations, as it reported a drop in sales for the first full month since the scandal broke.

In a joint interview with VW works council chief Bernd Osterloh published by German news agency DPA on Friday, Herbert Diess also said he saw no threat of job cuts for permanent staff as a result of the scandal.

VW is grappling with the biggest business crisis in its 78 year history after admitting in September it cheated US emissions tests on diesel vehicles and adding earlier this month that it also understated fuel usage in some cars.

US law firm Jones Day has been running an independent inquiry at VW into the emissions test cheating since September, and VW on Thursday pledged to speed up a programme to encourage staff to cooperate in the investigations.

Osterloh said he did not know whether diesel emission manipulations committed by the company involved 10, 50 or even 100 people.

"No one can tell that today.. But even if I take 100 out of (a global workforce of) 600,000, it remains a limited group," he said.

VW's top management and labour representatives are in talks to balance spending cuts and future investments as they brace for a bill expected to run into billions or euros in fines, lawsuits and vehicle refit costs.

Sources at VW have said Diess is considering a reduction in temporary staff at its namesake division, the carmaker's biggest.

Osterloh also said bonus payments to workers would not be at last year's level.

The carmaker's sales in October showed some impact from the scandal, with VW brand deliveries down 5.3 percent year-on-year after a four percent drop in September.

The fall partly reflected temporary sales bans of diesel cars in Western Europe, VW said.

Group sales, also including brands such as Czech division Skoda and luxury nameplate Audi, fell 3.5 percent to 831,300 cars, the seventh straight monthly decline, VW said.

"The entire company is working to restore the trust of our customers in the brand and our products," VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann said.

Diess said in the DPA interview the carmaker's orders were growing in Germany but falling in southern Europe, Britain and some overseas markets.

He said compensation measures for VW owners would be tailored individually to market needs as VW aims to rebuild trust with customers.

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