New Zealand Volkswagen owners affected by the emissions cheating scandal could have a solution as early as next month says Volkswagen New Zealand chief executive Tom Ruddenklau, with final details expected to be approved by the end of January.

The German carmaker was last year caught up in a global scandal after it admitted to deliberately installing emissions cheating software on millions of its cars to make emission readings lower and cars appear more environmentally friendly.

Ruddenklau confirmed last year that 5548 cars in New Zealand were affected as well as "a handful" of used imported Volkswagens.

He said the company had updated customers before Christmas and would be updating them further in the coming weeks once the solution had been approved.


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"We're just waiting for the final details to be approved before we start to roll out the recall in New Zealand which looks like its going to be February or March," Ruddenklau said.

"We always thought it would be in the first quarter that it would start to be rolled out but most recalls, depending on how many vehicles are involved, can take months or sometimes years."

Ruddenklau said he expected the process to be completed by the end of the year, but said the technical fix was a simple one with 2 litre vehicles receiving a half hour software update and 1.6 litre vehicles having a piece of hardware installed in the inlet side of the engine to record the correct emission readings.

According to Ruddenklau, the solution had been accepted in most countries except the US where it had rejected parts of the recall plan due to several reasons including that the plan did not adequately identify the affected vehicles; did not include a sufficient method for obtaining the car owners' names and addresses and did not include adequate information on how the fix would affect future emissions results.

Despite being pleased with the relatively simple technical solution, Ruddenklau said the bigger issue would still be on improving the relationship with its customers.