Their Volkswagen of America colleagues were not so fortunate. Yesterday in the docklands area of Brooklyn, New York there was an event to launch the facelifted 2016 US-spec Passat.
Previous iterations of the Passat fitted with the 2.0-litre TDI engine are at the heart of the emissions cheating scandal, but Volkswagen had flown in guests from all over the world, so couldn’t exactly cancel the shindig despite the emerging crisis.
However, two of the companies key executives, Herbert Diess, chairman of the VW brand’s management board, and Heinz-Jakob Neusser, VW’s board member in charge of technical development, did pull out.
That left poor old Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen of America, to face the music. Well, he and Lenny Kravitz, who was rolled out as a bit of light relief.
So I stayed up late and went online to see what was said by Horn. Obviously he had time to prepare because Volkswagen has been aware of the EPA's findings for a few weeks. To his credit, though, he plunged straight in at the start of his address.
"Our company was dishonest. We totally screwed up and are deeply sorry. We will do everything we can to make things right,” he admitted, while cutting a rather lonely figure on the large stage.
He went on to describe the 2016 Passat as “a car built in America by Americans for Americans”, although it’s unlikely that this statement will conjure up much patriotic fervour among the customers right now.
Horn went on to promise that Volkswagen “will pay what we have to pay” in relation to fiddling the emissions tests.
However, there must be a growing sense that financial sanctions could just be the start of the car maker’s headaches.
Read more on the Volkswagen emissions scandal:
How the Volkswagen story unfolded
How VW's 'defeat device' works
VW board anticipates more top-line casualties
European cars are affected, says German minister
PSA Peugeot Citroën leads calls for tougher emissions test procedures
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