Volkswagen will soon have a new chief. As a surprise to no one, CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned Wednesday amid the growing emissions test scandal faced by the automaker. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Volkswagen cheated U.S. emissions tests by rigging software so vehicles performed better during testing than they do in the real world. More than 11 million Volkswagen diesel vehicles are impacted worldwide.
In a statement, Winterkorn said he was “shocked by the events of the past few days” and “stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group.”
He also claimed responsibility for the irregularities since he was CEO, however he says he wasn’t involved in any wrong doing himself.
“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,” said Winterkorn. “I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part.”
He added that “Volkswagen needs a fresh start” and that he was “clearing the way for this fresh start” by resigning.
According to CNBC, Winterkorn allegedly ignored warning signs about emissions in 2014. Volkswagen installed sophisticated software known as “defeat devices” in the electronic control module of diesel vehicles built between 2008 and 2015.
Volkswagen says Winterkorn’s successor will be named Friday. His resignation ends a tumultuous era for company leadership. Winterkorn battled it out with former chairman Ferdinand Piech earlier this year, but won shareholder support and Piech resigned in April.
If you have a Volkswagen diesel, read the Car Pro’s advice on what to do next.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen