VW is under pressure to act decisively, with its shares plunging since the crisis broke and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging it to quickly restore confidence in a company held up for generations as a paragon of German engineering prowess. Germany’s powerful vehicle industry has been reeling over the revelations that Volkswagen fitted up to 11 million of its diesel cars with devices capable of fooling emissions tests.
The head of VW’s employee council, Bernd Osterloh, said that Volkswagen “needs a new beginning” with a “different company culture”.
Auto giant Volkswagen searched Thursday for a new chief to steer it out of a global pollution cheating storm, as suspicions over diesel vehicle emissions spread for the first time to fellow German manufacturer BMW.
But the worst scandal in the company’s 78-year history showed no sign of abating as Germany’s transport minister said on Thursday it had manipulated tests in Europe as well as the United States.
Volkswagen AG has chosen the head of its Porsche division, Matthias Mueller, to succeed Martin Winterkorn as chief executive. VW has admitting using software that allowed its diesel cars to fool US emissions tests, releasing fewer smog-causing NOx during the tests than in real-world driving conditions.
“There will be further personnel consequences in the next days and we are calling for those consequences”, Volkswagen board member Olaf Lies told local reporters.
VW shares shot up 7.9 percent to hit a high of 120.30 euros in the morning in Frankfurt.
Horn acknowledged this week that the company had “totally screwed up” by deceiving USA regulators about how much its diesel cars pollute.
Soon after the United Kingdom government said it would launch an investigation of its own into vehicle emissions.
“Quite simply it could be the vehicle manufacturer’s Libor scandal”.
In his resignation notice today, Winterkorn wrote, “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”. The company now looks set to fire executives across its multi-brand group to weed out the source of the manipulations.
Mueller said it is “decisive that nothing like this ever happens at Volkswagen again”.
The upside, he said, is that Mueller’s knowledge of the company offers the chance of “faster traction to help root out the problems within the organization”.
The company has yet to announce which cars and construction years are affected, and whether they will have to be refitted.
Update: In a statement to Ars, a Volkswagen spokesperson said Winterkorn’s successor has not been decided yet.