The Canadian arm of the automaker took out full-page ads in 100 newspapers across Canada on Monday apologizing for betraying customer trust.
"Recently we made a big mistake: We broke your trust. For over 60 years Canadians have relied on us to act with integrity. Yet we've let you down," the ad reads.
It pledges Volkswagen "won't rest until we earn back your trust and restore our integrity" and directs customers to a website, which has been up for a few weeks, with further details about the emissions scandal, the cars affected and what VW Canada proposes to do.
The ad will run in print and on the web for the next couple of weeks, with a new message to appear next week.
No details on recall
The date of a recall for diesel cars in Canada that emit more nitrogen oxide than they should is still not available.
Among the details emerging from the website is a pledge to offer an owner credit package to vehicles with two-litre diesel engines including the Beetle, Jetta, Passat, Golf and Audi A3.
Volkswagen calls this credit package "a gesture of goodwill for their continued patience while we work to develop a remedy for their vehicles."
Thomas Tetzlaff, manager of media relations for VW Canada, said the details of the credit package have not yet been finalized, but he anticipated "it will be very similar to the program recently announced in the United States. "
U.S. owners got a $1,000 US package that included a prepaid Visa card, $500 in dealership credits and three years of free roadside assistance.
Environment Canada is working with U.S. regulators to approve a fix for the cars, which have software installed that turns on emissions control when cars are undergoing testing, but turns it off during real-world driving.
Why so long to apologize?
The automaker has presented a potential fix to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, but the regulators have yet to release details or approve the fix.
The Volkswagen website includes a statement from VW Canada CEO Maria Stenstrom. It also addresses the question of why it took so long to issue an apology in Canada, when U.S. consumers had one on Nov. 15.
"While we were hoping to have more information to share at this point in the process, unfortunately that's not the case, and we felt we owed it to our Canadian employees, dealers and customers to publicly apologize to Canadians for breaking their trust," the site says.
"This advertising apology is an important step towards our commitment to making things right in declaring our full commitment to restoring Canadians' faith in our brand."