The difficult situation Volkswagen Group is going through just got a lot more serious as the company’s CEO Martin Winterkorn has announced his resignation. This shocking news comes only a day after the German marque revealed there are about 11 million cars all over the world featuring special software created specifically to cheat during tests regarding emissions.
Winterkorn says he is “stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible” and he accepts full responsibilities for the irregularities that have been detected by the authorities in the company’s diesel engines, specifically the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder TDI, but the Environmental Protection Agency in United States is now analyzing the larger 3.0-liter 6-cylinder as well.
He also expressed his desire for a “fresh start” for the Volkswagen Group and he believes the first step in doing so is to have a new chairman. Tomorrow, the company’s Supervisory Board is expected to select a replacement for Winterkorn and you can imagine he will have to handle what could possibly be the most difficult period of all times for VAG.
The company’s image has been seriously affected by this so-called “defeat device” installed on their diesel-powered cars and this will certainly have an impact on sales in the future, not just for the Volkswagen marque, but also for the other brands part of the group: Audi, SEAT, Skoda and Porsche while high-end customers of Bentley and Bugatti models probably don’t care about this debacle.
It will be interesting to see how the Volkswagen Group will handle the upcoming lawsuits and fines which are expected to come not just from United States where the problem originated, but also from other countries where investigations have already commenced to find out whether VAG did the same illegal trick on their diesel-powered cars. Since the company itself said there are 11 million cars involved, the magnitude of this problem is huge and Volkswagen has already mentioned they will spend an estimated €6.5 billion to try and fix this issue.