Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Auto Group, has resigned from his post after the company admitted they had manipulated the results in U.S emission testing.
“Volkswagen needs a fresh start - also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”, said Winterkorn.
Volkswagen's inconsistencies in emission testing were noted by two researchers with help from West Virginia University. Their study found that the Passat and Jetta TDI models were producing more NOx particulates out on the road but ran clean when tested in a laboratory. Since then, the EPA and CARB have investigated the German car maker and found the “defeat device” that allowed Volkswagen TDI cars to pass emission tests. Volkswagen has since admitted that they have been doing so since 2009. Over the course of two days, Volkswagen's stock has plummeted 35 % and the US Government has issued a stop-sale order for Volkswagen TDI models.
Volkswagen Auto Group has yet to name a replacement for Winterkorn but states that the new CEO's top priority will be getting bottom of the scheme. Apart from facing a potential fine of $18 billion, Volkswagen has set aside $7.3 billion yesterday to prepare for potential costs. Volkswagen is also helping out American VW dealerships stuck with TDI inventories they cannot sell with rebates and buy-backs.
Before his resignation, Winterkorn was set to sign a contract extension until 2018 this Friday.