World Economy

Merkel Calls for Transparency After VW Scandal

Merkel Calls for Transparency After VW ScandalMerkel Calls for Transparency After VW Scandal

The "Made in Germany" brand has not been damaged by the Volkswagen scandal, but the carmaker needs to deal with the matter in a transparent manner, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday in her weekly podcast.

"A lot will depend on how Volkswagen deals with the issue," Merkel said, adding that VW could recover if it acts transparently and changes its organizational structures so that nothing similar can happen again, Reuters reported.

"I believe VW is working on this with all of its power," she said.

US environmental authorities disclosed on September 18 that Volkswagen had used a software device on some diesel-powered engines to manipulate emissions test and their cars appear cleaner in the lab than during normal road driving. The company is under investigation in the US and Germany.

VW has since acknowledged that the software was installed on up to 11 million vehicles, including about 482,000 cars in the US the so-called “dieselgate” affair affects several of the company’s brands that use the EA 189 diesel engine in some models.

Merkel’s comments come ahead of a major annual industry conference on November 3 at which the wider impact of the VW diesel affair is likely to be a theme.

Since taking office in her first term in 2005, the chancellor has maintained close ties to VW. Chief executive Matthias Muller accompanied the chancellor on her trip to China this week.

In a separate development, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported in its Saturday edition that VW is preparing to offer an amnesty to employees who volunteer information about the emissions cheating scandal to encourage insiders with knowledge of the affair to speak out without fearing for their jobs or prosecution.

A spokesman for the company dismissed the newspaper report about an amnesty program, saying “there is nothing to this.”

According the report, the amnesty program follows comments by Muller at an assembly of workers in October that employees have no “work-related legal consequences” to fear if they volunteer information that leads to resolving the scandal.

Citing the anonymous VW executive, the report added that the amnesty would not be offered to senior executives, such as board members at the company’s brands, but only to lower-level employees.