VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday following one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the motoring industry.
Volkswagen confirmed that 11 million vehicles worldwide are linked to the diesel emissions revelation. The company admitted that US regulators were deceived by the installation of a device to give more positive results in exhaust emissions tests.
After a lengthy meeting with the executive committee of the VW board Winterkorn said in a statement “I am clearing the way for (a) fresh start with my resignation.”
Winterkorn went on to say that he was shocked by the scale of the misconduct and added that he was unaware of any wrongdoing on his own part.
Volkswagen has been expected to take action along these lines after its shares plummeted more than 30% since the revelations. A statement from the car company’s supervisory board said that a successor has not yet been named and that further personnel consequences are likely in the coming days.
However deeper repercussions loom for Volkswagen. The US Environmental Agency said on Friday that the company could be fined up to $18 billion. Reuters reports that the US Justice Department has launched a criminal enquiry with European and Asian countries said to be investigating further.
VW have set aside €6.5 billion to cover the costs of the scandal but judging by the scale of the deception and the dramatic drop in shares the real number would now appear to be significantly higher.