Martin Winterkorn, CEO for Volkswagen the last eight years, resigned last week in the wake of a growing scandal over falsified emissions tests estimated to affect 11 million vehicles worldwide.
“I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part,” Winterkorn said after an emergency meeting with Volkswagen directors.
Winterkorn’s position was looking increasingly precarious as the scandal continued to unfold. According to U.S. regulators, the automaker deliberately cheated on environmental standards tests by programming engine management software in some diesel cars to turn on emission controls only during testing.
“Winterkorn, an engineer and former head of Audi, said he was stunned by the scale of the misconduct, and was accepting responsibility to clear the way for a “fresh start” for the company.”
“The process of clarification and transparency must continue. This is the only way to win back trust. ”
Stock prices have crashed which has led to big investor losses. The fallout is incredibly large for the brand that is the heart of German manufacturing and exports. The company has set aside 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) to cover expenses relating to recalls and other efforts to try and limit the damage. However, the final bill has the propensity to be much more as the scandal continues to unfold. Moreover, the automaker is facing civil and possible criminal fines in the U.S.
At this time it is uncertain if massive recalls will be issued in other markets.
Sheller, P.C. is investigating the alleged fraud by Volkswagen in violation of state laws and consumers’ rights. Consumers over-paid for these vehicles and are now discovering they do not meet emissions standards, based upon misrepresentation of the manufacturer. VW dealers are also affected, as they now have diesel vehicles they are not allowed to sell until repaired.
In addition to its nationwide consumer class action practice, Sheller, P.C. is one of the leading whistleblower law firms in the country, having recovered with the US Government over $6B in whistleblower settlements to date.
- EPA Consumer Information: Notices of Violations
- EPA Press Release: EPA, California Notify Volkswagen of Clean Air Act Violations