Volkswagen‘s Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn announced his resignation Wednesday emission test crisis. Winterkorn said on Wednesday he took full responsibility for the scandal, in which the company admitted that 11m cars were installed with a defeat device that reduced emissions under test conditions only, but he denied personal wrongdoing. Volkswagen’s stock market value has fallen dramatically since the admission this week. Winterkorn described the situation facing the carmaker as a “grave crisis”.
Volkswagen faces up to £12bn in fines and is the subject of multiple investigations after the US Environmental Protection Agency accused it of manipulating tests on 18 September.
The company will reportedly have to set aside $7.3 billion to deal with the issue.
Winterkorn said he is shocked by the events of the past few days, and also stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.
He said “As CEO I accept responsibility for the irregularities that have been found in diesel engines and have therefore requested the Supervisory Board to agree on terminating my function as CEO of the Volkswagen Group. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part. Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”
Winterkorn had been CEO since 2007 of the sprawling Volkswagen Group—numbering 13 brands from VW to Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini and Bugatti—with some 580,000 employees. VW’s supervisory board said it would name Winterkorn’s successor Friday and that it expected “further personnel consequences” in the coming days. It added that Winterkorn “had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data.”
The German government was also dragged in after it admitted that it already knew about “defeat devices” that can cheat emissions tests.
German public prosecutors said they were considering launching a criminal investigation into the scandal and are examining a collection of legal claims that have been filed by private individuals against Volkswagen.
Source: The Guardian