Volkswagen’s CEO said the reports the carmaker sponsored tests exposing humans and monkeys to toxic fumes had “stunned” him. This came just two years after the automaker suffered through a cheating scandal involving emissions. The CEO pledged again that he would find out more about the wrongdoing.
The largest automaker in Europe has been under heavy scrutiny following last week’s New York Times report that said Volkswagen and its peers in Germany Daimler and BMW funded a group known as European Research Group on Health and Environment in the Transport Sector or EUGT that commissioned the toxic tests.
This report came over two years after VW had admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests in the U.S. sparking the largest crisis the business has had in its history, and it pledged sweeping changes as a way to ensure that kind of misconduct would not happen again.
However, CEO Matthias Mueller during a reception on Monday in Brussels said that over the past weekend the company learned again that there is a long way to go to regain lost trust.
He added that the methods EUGT used in the U.S. were wrong, repulsive and unethical. Mueller said that he was sorry Volkswagen had been involved in that matter as one of the EUGT sponsors.
The study, which took place in 2014, had been designed to defend diesel after revelation surfaced that the exhaust fumes of the fuel were carcinogenic, reported the New York Times.
The details and the purpose of the study could not be confirmed and EUGT, which last year was dissolved, was unavailable for comment.
The tests were also denounced by both Daimler and BMW.
Mueller, who is a veteran with VW and became the CEO after the cheating scandal involving emissions broke during September of 2015, complained on many occasions that battling the closed-off culture at VW was proving far tougher that he had expected.
He added that the report by the New York Times showed VW needed to improve its ethical standards, and made a pledge to take all necessary action needed once the company finished its investigation into the work of EUGT.
Mueller said that the setbacks from this must be lived and dealt with.
On Monday, VW said the study by EUGT was not discussed in any board meetings of management, after a newspaper had reported earlier that an internal e-mail had showed that some senior managers had at least been informed of the research’s design.