"If all goes according to plan, we can start the recall in January. All the cars should be fixed by the end of 2016," Mueller said.
For the US market, a company spokeswoman said later, the remedy will first have to be agreed upon with Environmental Protection Agency, but she offered no timing for that.
Mueller said that he believed only a few employees were involved in the diesel emissions rigging that has hammered the company's stock and done severe damage to its reputation, refuting the notion that his detail-oriented predecessor Martin Winterkorn must have known about it.
He said VW would have to become smaller and less centralised, adding that every model and brand would be scrutinised for its contribution to the company and singling out Bugatti.
But he said an 'evolution' rather than a 'revolution' was needed to get VW back on track, predicting that the company could 'shine again' in two to three years.
"This crisis gives us an opportunity to overhaul Volkswagen's structures," Mueller said. "We want to make the company slimmer, more decentralised and give the brands more responsibility.
Mueller rejected the suggestion that VW had informed financial markets too late about the diesel problems despite having told officials at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) weeks before it went public.


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