Volkswagen names Matthias Mueller as new Chief Executive

Amid increasingly astonishing revelations concerning rigged diesel emission tests Volkswagen have named Matthias Mueller, head of the Porsche sports car division, as their new Chief Executive, replacing Martin Winterkorn who resigned on Wednesday. As he announced his resignation Martin Winterkorn said “I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part,” he added “Volkswagen needs a fresh start … I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.” In a statement Matthias Mueller praised Winterkorn speaking of his “readiness to take responsibility in this difficult situation for Volkswagen” and insisting that “Mr. Winterkorn had no knowledge of the manipulation of emission values”. Mueller also said “under my leadership, Volkswagen will do all it can to develop and implement the strictest compliance and governance standards in the whole industry”. The new Chief Executive certainly has a mammoth task ahead of him, as the scandal spread from the United States to Europe – possibly even reaching worldwide proportions. Acting Chairman Berthold Huber has been quick to apologise, he said “The supervisory board has, on the basis of current information, recommended suspending some employees immediately until the whole case is cleared up,” adding that “this has in part already happened.” His statement continued “The test manipulations are a moral and political disaster for Volkswagen. The unlawful behaviour of engineers and technicians involved in engine development shocked Volkswagen just as much as it shocked the public. We can only apologise and ask our customers, the public, the authorities and our investors to give us a chance to make amends.”

It now appears that 11 million cars around the world were installed with the defeat device, although Volkswagen has said that the software has not been activated in the majority of them. The German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt admitted that the number of vehicles affected in Germany alone is around 2.8 million, almost six times as many as those in the United States.

Sales of diesel cars are anticipated to fall off and tougher standards of testing are widely expected worldwide, Switzerland has already taken the step of banning the sale of some Volkswagen models. Law suits have quickly been launched in the United States and criminal investigations are likely to take place, it is going to be an extremely difficult time for the Volkswagen brand.

Special Thanks La Moncloa Gobierno de España for providing the image.