Thursday 21 March 2019

Volkswagen's CEO quits over diesel scandal

Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned
Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned

Julia Bradshaw

Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned over the diesel emissions scandal.

The German car-maker has admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide might have been fitted with software to trick emissions testers into believing that they met environmental standards.

Mr Winterkorn announced he was stepping down but added that he was not aware of "any wrongdoing on my part".

He said: "I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.

"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 wrongdoing on my part."

Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected allegations that her government knew about Volkswagen's attempts to deceive US regulators and consumers about emissions before the scandal became public.

The German Green Party claimed that the Merkel government admitted that it knew about VW's test-rigging software in an answer to a parliamentary question in July.

"The government told us in July that it knew about this software, which has been used in the US," Oliver Krischer, the deputy leader of the Greens, told N24 television.

"The government worked with the auto industry, not to see that emissions levels were reduced, but so that the measuring system was set up to allow the cars meet the necessary standards on paper," Mr Krischer alleged.

Alexander Dobrind, the transport minister, has ordered an inquiry into the VW scandal and German public prosecutors are now launching a preliminary criminal inquiry.

Irish Independent

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