Volkswagen’s highest ranking official in North America issued a "sincere apology" to federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday, but blamed a group of the company’s engineers for software in its diesel cars that helped them avoid emissions regulations.
"To my understanding, this was not a corporate decision. This was something individuals did," said Volkswagen Group of America CEO Michael Horn, quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
However, many lawmakers were looking for more than an apology, according to various media reports, for the company’s use of a "defeat device" to get around emissions regulations.
"You haven’t revealed how the defeat device affects the engine, why it was installed, and how it was able to evade emissions tests," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), according to The New York Times.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that Horn was made privy to the company’s cheating as early as last year.
Horn did not arrive on Capitol Hill with the concrete answers Congress wanted, according to tweets from reporters following the hearing.
Michael Horn of VW on emissions test cheating: "My understanding is that it was a couple of software engineers who put these in."— Jamie Robertson (@Bizrobertson) October 8, 2015
Volkswagen U.S. CEO Michael Horn tells Congress he does not know how the software works because he does not have the technical expertise.— Nathan Bomey (@NathanBomey) October 8, 2015
.@RepJoeBarton says the penalty should be "more than a slap on the wrist."— Chris Perkins (@Chris_Perkins1) October 8, 2015