VW scandal: CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns

German government embroiled in scandal after admitting it was aware of “defeat” devices

Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned, it has been confirmed.

On Wednesday afternoon, confirmation of Winterkorn’s resignation came as the emissions scandal swept through markets across the world.

The company “needs a fresh start”, Winterkorn said in a statement.

Here is his statement in full:

“I am shocked by the events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group. 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. I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrong doing on my part. Volkswagen needs a fresh start – also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation. I have always been driven by my desire to serve this company, especially our customers and employees. Volkswagen has been, is and will always be my life. The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust. I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group and its team will overcome this grave crisis.”

German government was aware of “defeat” software as used by VW in July

Angela Merkel’s government has been dragged into the scandal after it admitted that it had been aware of emissions “defeat” software devices such as those used by VW back in July.

The German transport ministry sent a written response to the German Green party on July 28, which said that it was aware of the defeat devices, though no particular car manufacturers were named.

Oliver Krischer, a German Green party lawmaker, said: “The VW emissions scandal is the result of a politics in which environmental and consumer protection plays no role and every trick and means of cheating is accepted with a wink.”

VW vehicles contributed an estimated 1 million tonnes of additional pollution to the world every year since 2009, the Guardian has calculated. This would be a greater level of pollution than all of the UK’s power stations, vehicles, industry and agriculture combined.

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