Berlin, Sep 23 (IANS) The chief executive of Volkswagen (VW) has refused to resign despite an escalation of the emissions scandal following the VW’s admission that 11 million of its vehicles have been fitted with a device designed to cheat emission tests.
Martin Winterkorn, chairman of board of director of the world’s second largest car marker, said he was “endlessly sorry we betrayed the trust of customers”.
“We are going to clarify the background unsparingly, and everything is being put on the table as quickly, thoroughly and transparently as possible,” the Guardian quoted Winterkorn as saying.
VW on Tuesday denied that Winterkorn will leave as chief executive this Friday, to be replaced by Matthias Müller, the chairman of its sister company Porsche.
He spoke after the German company revealed the potential financial liabilities for the first time. VW is putting aside 4.7 billion euros to deal with the potential costs of the crisis, prompting a further 20 percent fall in its share price.
Shares of other car manufacturers have also fallen heavily, with Peugeot down seven percent, BMW down five percent and Daimler, the owner of Mercedes-Benz, also down five percent.
The VW financial update was issued on Tuesday after its US chief said the company had “totally screwed up” over the emissions scandal. Michael Horn admitted on Monday in New York that VW had been dishonest with regulators and the public.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “This is about showing complete transparency, clearing up the entire case.”
“The transport minister is in close contact with the company, and I hope that the facts will be put on the table as quickly as possible,” Markel said.
VW could face a fine of up to $18 billion, as well as criminal charges for its executives and legal action from customers and shareholders amid claims in the US that it used a device to falsify emissions data.
The device recognises when the car is being tested and immediately cuts emissions to a level much lower than normal and which would be unsustainable under normal driving conditions.
Britain and France called for a Europe-wide investigation into diesel cars to reassure the public.