Volkswagen's Chief Executive believes Europe's biggest carmaker will succeed in winning back customers' trust after admitting to rigging emissions tests for millions of its cars. But as Sonia Legg reports, it didn't win this year's top car award at the Geneva International Motor Show - that honour went to Opel Vauxhall Astra.
Europe's new car of the year is German-built. But it's not a Volkswagen. The Opel Vauxhall Astra scooped the top award as Europe's auto makers gathered for the 86th Geneva International Motor Show. Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF OPEL GROUP, KARL-THOMAS NEUMANN, SAYING: "It's a true Opel again -- it has emotion, it has technology, and it's affordable. It's a car which is in the middle of the society." VW has won the award for the past two years. But that was before the emissions scandal affecting up to 11 million vehicles. The new CEO of Europe's biggest carmaker knows he still has bridges to build. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): VOLKSWAGEN CEO, MATTHIAS MUELLER, SAYING: "We did a huge mistake and that was not OK in front of our customers. So we have to wait for the results of all the investigations which are going on and we are keen to get a result as soon as possible." The scandal is the biggest business crisis in VW's 78-year history. But Matthias Mueller believes it will win back customers' trust. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): VOLKSWAGEN CEO, MATTHIAS MUELLER, SAYING: "We have a lot of customer relationship programmes started so I am very convinced that it will work very well. We have a huge product programme, it is very amazing and tremendous cars so please be surprised about our programme." The U.S. Justice Department is suing VW for up to $46 billion for violating environmental laws. And VW is yet to agree a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. But Mueller had no complains, saying he doesn't believe the U.S. authorities are being too hard on VW.