Volkswagen board member and economy minister of the Germany state of Lower Saxony Olaf Lies said in an interview with the BBC that those who acted criminally to cheat emission tests must take personal responsibility.
Volkswagen has admitted falsfying emissions data on its diesel cars in the US by using an illegal device that could detect when the engine was being tested during government laboratory tests. By doing this the company was able to keep down engine costs in a “clean diesel” strategy. Germany’s transport minister had said VW also admitted rigging emissions tests in Europe, where it has much bigger sales.
Around 11 million diesel engine cars have been affected by the emissions scandal.
Seat is the latest VW brand to admit it also used the emission cheat device after Audi and Skoda.
Lies said rebuilding trust is the company’s priority.
"Huge damage has been done because millions of people have lost their faith in VW. We are surely going to have a lot of people suing for damages. We have to recall lots of cars and it has to happen really fast."
Lies also admitted that the board found out about the problems at the last meeting, “shortly before the media did.”
“So we need to find out why the board wasn't informed earlier about the problems when they were known about over a year ago in the United States."
VW said on Tuesday it will repair the software of up to 11 million vehicles involved in the emissions scandal and inform customers how the refits will take place in the coming weeks and months.
Experts say the refits will require changes to software and maybe hardware that could lead to reduced fuel economy and performance or the need for more maintenance.
The company is going though the worst crisis in its 78-year history which has sent shock waves through the car market globally since the scandal was revealed.
Falling another 1.5 percent on Tuesday morning, VW has lost more than a third of its market value since last Monday.