Volkswagen overtook Toyota in the first eight months of this year as the world’s largest manufacturer of vehicles, a goal that it had hoped to achieve by 2018.
Nonetheless, considering the recent diesel engine emission cheat scandal, it’s unlikely the German group will maintain that lead for the entirety of 2015, nor is it any longer a major focus for the brand. (In fact, Toyota recently won the lead back from Volkswagen.)
Speaking to the media at today’s Tokyo motor show, Volkswagen’s CEO of passenger cars, Herbert Diess, said market share is not a top priority as the company deals with dieselgate and its customers first.
“That is not our first priority.” Diess said when asked if Volkswagen will remain number one.
“Our first priority is to regain the trust and confidence of our customers and then later we will look at market share.”
According to Diess, the American market will prove to be the biggest challenge for Volkswagen as it seeks to regain a foothold in a market that was already showing strong challenges before DieselGate.
“Our first priority is to really now to look at the customers, fix their problems, recover confidence and then we will look at what we are going to do in the American market, which is for sure our biggest challenge.”
According to Diess, the company is currently not considering a buy-back of any of its affected vehicles as it hopes to have them fixed without any performance compromise via a software update in the majority of cases.
“[Buy backs] are too early to say because at the moment that we are hopeful and we believe that we can fix… I think it’s too early to really consider all the options," Diess said.
"We have different car types, engine types, we will finish evolutions before the end of the year and then we will be able to really determine which cars is what kind of fix. Most of the fleet we are sure we can fix by software.”
Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda Australia are expected to recall affected vehicles with a fix sometime in 2016.