Volkswagen has issued an apology to customers after an article published in the German newspaper Bild claimed that the German automaker was “responsible for thousands of accidents and deaths” that had been caused by faulty electronic equipment.
“We regret that this story has become public knowledge,” Volkswagen said in a statement.
“This is not the case.
Volkswagen is a global leader in innovation, and we are committed to improving our safety and environmental standards.”
The paper claimed that in 2012, the Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Passat and Beetlejetta models were affected by an “emerging” defect called the “vortex-control system” in which the system used by the car’s driver to regulate its speed and speed in relation to the road.
The system allowed the car to brake and swerve as if it were in reverse, according to Bild.
The paper also said the VWs “autonomous driving system” was “the most important cause of these accidents”.
In its statement, the company said it had “made significant progress” in the past year and was “committed to making significant progress with the development of a new, more comprehensive, and safe driver assistance system”.
Volkswagen had previously confirmed that the recall was linked to a problem with a new generation of electronic software in some of the cars.
It also announced plans to invest €1.8bn (£1.4bn) in safety measures in the United States and to roll out the new “virus-detection system” for all its cars by 2020.
Volkswagen said the changes had been made because “we are working on a comprehensive safety strategy for the Volkswagen Group and our customers”.
The company said in September that it had been forced to recall 2.6 million vehicles because of the “emerged defect” after the US government warned that Volkswagen had installed “vulnerabilities” in its software.
In a separate news conference, VW said it would take a “further two months to determine the nature of the issue” and “investigate all relevant factors”.
The firm said it was working with the US authorities and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other authorities.
The US Department of Justice, however, is investigating whether VW knowingly allowed its cars to be sold with defective electronic software.