WOLFSBURG, Germany – Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday in the wake of a diesel-emissions cheating scandal involving 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide, saying, “Volkswagen needs a fresh start in terms of personnel.”
“I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation,” Winterkorn said in a statement. “The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust.”
Internal company investigations into the matter “are continuing at a high tempo,” according to a statement issued on Wednesday by the Executive Committee of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG.
“The Executive Committee recognizes not only the economic damage caused, but also the loss of trust among many customers worldwide,” it said.
It added it is taking “the necessary decisive steps to ensure a credible new beginning.”
VW also said it expects “further personnel consequences in the next days.”
A special committee is being set up to come to grips with the crisis, the automaker said. Further details about the new committee, which will “make use of external advice,” will be detailed on Friday.
The latest announcements come after Volkswagen set aside $7.3 billion to address the costs associated with the crisis.
The embattled automaker also faces a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing that will look into why and how Volkswagen’s diesel engines in model years 2009-’15 resulted in emissions levels exceeding state and federal limits throughout the U.S., posing possible health risks to the public.
The EPA on Friday said an investigation showed the emissions-control software in nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi U.S. diesel vehicles, including the 2015 Audi A3 and 2014-’15 Volkswagen Passat, violated U.S. clean air rules by using a so-called “defeat device.”
The vehicles also include the 2009-’15 Audi A3, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Golf and Volkswagen Jetta.
About 11 million Volkswagen vehicles worldwide are now included in the German automaker’s diesel emissions crisis, Volkswagen AG announced on Tuesday.
Volkswagen of America dealers were told to stop the sales of some remaining 2015 diesel vehicles last weekend.
Edmunds says: VW’s diesel-emissions crisis forces the departure of its CEO. But the move does little to calm the concerns of the American public or provide answers.