We are not using PowerPoint. I have speaking notes, which have been circulated to the committee. I thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to engage with it for what I know is an important issue for it and the public. I am the managing director of Volkswagen Group Ireland. I am originally from Denmark and joined Volkswagen Group two years ago, having previously worked in a variety of other industries, including commercial vehicles. I took up my current role in Ireland in January 2015.
Volkswagen Group Ireland is the Irish importer and distributor of Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen passenger cars and commercial vehicles. We directly employ more than 140 direct staff in Ireland and our cars and vans are sold and serviced through a network of 155 dealerships and-or workshops in 75 locations around the country. These employ approximately 2,500 dedicated staff.
In my capacity as head of the business in Ireland, I would like to express my sincere apologies that our group has let down our customers, our dealers, our staff and the wider public in Ireland. The findings of irregularities in some diesel vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen Group are unacceptable, all the more so given our long history and the trust placed in us by successive generations of car owners here and internationally. These are matters that the board of management of Volkswagen AG and here in Ireland take very seriously. We recognise that we have fallen short of the standards expected of us and the standards that we expect of ourselves.
As a group, we accept that we mishandled these tests and we will fix this at our expense and in a way that minimises any disruption to our customers or other stakeholders. Beyond that, we recognise that we need to learn lessons from what has happened and to co-operate with regulators and policy-makers in this regard.
Also as a group, we are undergoing organisational structural change with a new CEO and have started a strategic product redirection - for example, a reorientation of our diesel strategy using only selective catalytic reduction with AdBlue and pushing our electric vehicle architecture.
Like most of the committee members, I first learned about emissions irregularities in the US on 19 September, and potentially in Europe on 22 September, with clarification in the following days. I will now turn to the specific issues as they relate to Ireland. On 1 October, I announced preliminary data about the local impact and about Volkswagen Ireland's response. This was that up to 80,000 vehicles sold by our company may be affected, that a further circa 30,000 imported vehicles may also be affected and that Volkswagen Group Ireland will take responsibility for these also. As previously indicated, the emissions issues relate to vehicles registered between 2008 and 2015 and containing a type EA 189 engine. Clarification of affected vehicles has been ongoing and the number today is 115,917.
I have also previously confirmed that the affected cars are technically safe and roadworthy and that there is no impact on handling and-or consumption. In terms of addressing the problem and engaging with our customers, I can confirm that all owners of affected vehicles are being contacted directly regarding the process to get their vehicles remedied in the near future. Individual letters to all owners have been sent this week. We have also set up a national website where Volkswagen customers can check if their vehicle is affected. For ease of use, we have correlated the vehicle identification numbers that we normally use as a car company with the vehicle registration numbers that the public is more familiar with. What that means is that drivers can check if their vehicle is affected by simply entering their car registration on our website www.campaigncheck.ie. This website has been very well received and has received more than 100,000 searches in its first week in operation, identifying more than 15,000 affected vehicles. In the second week, we identified more than 25,000 vehicles via the website.
On 7 October, Volkswagen AG presented its plan and technical solution to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority, KBA, for approval. Its decision was issued to Volkswagen on 15 October and includes, in particular, the following measures. An ordered recall is taking place. A timetable and plan of action submitted to the KBA is being implemented. Today, Volkswagen AG must present the technical solution for fixing the 2.0 litre engine to the authorities. On 15 November, Volkswagen AG will the present technical solution for fixing to the 1.6 litre engine to the authorities and by the end of November, it will present the technical solution for fixing the 1.2 litre engine to the authorities. It is important to state that vehicles can continue to be used on the roads without limitation and that the current EA 288, EU6, successor engine generation is not affected by the recall.
On 24 October, Volkswagen Group Ireland initiated a voluntary suspension of sales of unregistered cars and vans with the affected EA 189 engine. We are also assessing a wide range of options to ensure ease of implementation for our customers. These include accommodating times and venues that best suit our customers and ease of process for dealers to cope with the massive capacity needed. All our customers with these vehicles will be kept informed over the coming weeks and months. We want to do everything in our power to correct these vehicles and to begin the process of regaining trust. This company has built an excellent reputation in Ireland over more than 65 years.
Recent events have caused concern in the public's mind and we are now doing everything we can to rebuild trust with our customers, partners and the general public.
The remediation process should have no impact on CO2 emissio
ns in the future, as some have speculated, and we will provide technical proofs to corroborate this assurance in the period ahead. We take full responsibility for our actions and we are working with all relevant authorities in a co-operative way. I offer the commitment of Volkswagen Group Ireland to work with this committee to understand what happened and how we can move forward. We have not had the opportunity to review all aspects of this matter as the investigations are just beginning. My testimony, therefore, and my answers to questions will, by necessity, have to be considered preliminary and based on my best understanding at this time. Members can rest assured that I and my dedicated team here in Ireland will not stop until this issue is fully resolved.