It was a little over a week ago that District Court Judge Charles Breyer gave Volkswagen a firm deadline to fix the diesel emissions problem that's been plaguing the automaker for the last six months or so. The date circled in red marker on the calendar is March 24. That's less than 20 days from now. So... will they get it done in time?

Perhaps not. According to Reuters, VW brand chairman Herbert Diess is hinting that the fix might be late. "I believe we have good chances to achieve an agreement with the authorities in the United States in the next months," said Diess in an interview with German newspaper Wolfsburger Allgemeine Zeitung. Notice Diess said "months," not days, and he didn't say how many months that would be, either.

Exactly what the holdup may be for fixing the 2.0-liter TDI engine in the United Sates, we don't know. But, reading between the lines a bit, the problem may be green and bear the face of Benjamin Franklin. Lots of Franklins, in fact. In the same interview, Diess discussed the need for the Volkswagen brand to save money and earn more profit. "We will not get a second chance," he said.

A plan to cut costs and increase profitability is reportedly due from VW early next week. Reuters says it will focus on 12 points and will give more autonomy to each of the brand's regional operations. That, we'd imagine, will include the United States.

Expect electric powertrains and autonomous driving technology to be key parts of the company's long-term plans. What you shouldn't expect, however, is a simple solution to the diesel emissions disaster.

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