Volkswagen appointed Porsche brand chief Matthias Mueller as chief executive officer as the German vehicle maker reels from the biggest crisis in its history.
The move could reportedly result in the recall of 11 millions cars already sold by the brand and also affect as many as 180,000 unsold or non-registered cars in the Euro 5 emission category.
Muller has been with the VW Group for decades. “So we will introduce even tougher compliance and governance standards in the company”. “I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation”.
This is a view shared by Simon Chadwick, Professor for Sport Business Strategy and Marketing at Coventry University, who said sports deals would quickly come under scrutiny as Volkswagen set aside funds for those potential claims.
“A small group has done damage to our company… we need a climate where mistakes are not hidden”.
The full 20-member board would meet on Friday morning to approve the appointment, which would then be made public in the early afternoon, it added.
Environmental group Greenpeace wrote to the Government to ask if it knew about the cheating of emissions tests before this month.
The entire auto industry and the methods used for testing vehicles are coming under scrutiny following revelations that VW’s “clean diesel” cars have software meant to defeat emissions tests.
German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt on Friday said 2.8 million vehicles were affected by Volkswagen emission manipulations which involved not only passenger cars but also light commercial vehicles.
Lawmakers will have a significant influence on whether people choose gasoline or diesel engines because subsidies for diesel have greatly helped its popularity, she said.
Last Friday, Volkswagen was ordered by the US Environmental Protection Agency to recall hundreds of thousands of its diesel vehicles for allegedly installing software created to cheat emissions inspections.
Mueller has been with the Volkswagen group since 1978 and has served as the CEO for the Porsche brand since 2010, a position he will continue to hold until a replacement can be found. His contract as VW group CEO will run through until the end of February 20.
Labour representatives, occupying half of the 20 board seats, would “only accept a personality with great technical and entrepreneurial expertise as well as great social competence”, VW works council chief Bernd Osterloh said in a letter to employees published on Thursday. Criminal prosecution is also possible.
Mueller will have to send a strong message that Volkswagen values honesty more than making sure its cars pass the tests at any cost.