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New VW CEO says cars hit by emissions-rigging scandal to be refitted

Volkswagen's plan to address its diesel emissions scandal will reportedly include new software to bring affected vehicles into legal compliance

VW CEO Matthias Müller. Volkswagen

Volkswagen will reportedly refit up to 11 million diesel vehicles affected by its emissions-cheating scandal with new software.

Matthias Müller, VW's newly minted CEO, informed about 1,000 of the German automaker's managers of the plan at its Wolfsburg headquarters on Monday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company convened a special team over the weekend to develop a "comprehensive action plan" that will inform affected owners of recall specifics after those plans are approved by European Union authorities, the Journal reported. The fix includes new software that will bring the cars into compliance with emissions laws.

The action could cost upward of $6.5 billion by some analysts' estimates.

VW has been under fire since it was revealed earlier this month that the automaker fitted so-called "defeat devices" to nearly half a million US diesel passenger cars that allowed them to pass Environmental Protection Agency emissions testing but still significantly exceed pollutant limits in real-world driving. Subsequent investigations revealed that the defeat devices are present on around 11 million vehicles globally.

It is not immediately clear if the software fix will have ramifications for affected vehicles beyond bringing them into emissions compliance. Industry experts fear that in order to make the vehicles legal, some other areas of their performance are likely to suffer, including power, fuel economy and overall drivability.

A spokesman for VW of America told CNET that he had yet to be contacted by Wolfsburg with plan details and was waiting to hear specifics, including what, if any, side effects the emissions remedy may have on customer cars.