In the wake of the tremendous debacle concerning Volkswagen cars sold since 2008, today its CEO resigned – or some say forced out – for his mishandling of the situation. VW’s global CEO Martin Winterkorn, an engineer, told the press that he had no knowledge of the diesel engine dupe, but apologized to the public and accepted responsibility after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered the fraud that appears to have been intentional. The U.S. Justice Department is conducting an investigation in the matter as well as the EPA for VW’s violating its pollution standards. Various European organizations also are looking into the matter. Globally, 11 million cars are affected; some half million in the U.S. Winterkorn, 68, has been CEO of the car maker for eight years. In his quitting over the cheating diesel engine scandal, he called it a “grave crisis,” and said he was leaving for a “fresh start” for the company. VW had just overtaken Toyota as the world’s largest automaker. Now with the public’s crisis of confidence, its position there is precarious, industry experts agree.
To read his official statement of resignation, go to: http://www.volkswagenag.com/
“For something of this magnitude, one would expect that the CEO would know, and if he doesn’t know, then he’s willfully ignorant,” said Jeff Thinnes, a former Daimler executive who consults with European companies on compliance and ethics issues. Although other diesel-engine automakers have not been singled out as doing the same, it has put the entire auto industry on the defensive in raising questions about the accuracy of all vehicles’ auto emissions.