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VW CEO Winterkorn resigns over crisis; “further personnel consequences” coming; Exec. Committee filing criminal complaint

Volkswagen Group CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn resigned today, taking upon himself responsibility for the emissions cheating scandal that has quickly engulfed the company. In a statement, the Executive Committee of Volkswagen AG’s Supervisory Board noted that Dr. Winterkorn had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions data, and thanked Dr. Winterkorn “for towering contributions in the past decades and for his willingness to take responsibility in this critical phase for the company. This attitude is illustrious.”

The Executive Committee also said it was adamant on taking the necessary steps to ensure a new beginning for the tarnished company. As part of that, it is expecting “further personnel consequences” in the coming days. The company is also voluntarily submitting a complaint to the State Prosecutors’ office in Brunswick. The Executive Committee believes that criminal proceedings may be relevant due to the irregularities. Volkswagen will support the investigations of the State Prosecutor “in all forms.

The Executive Committee takes this matter extremely seriously. The Executive Committee recognizes not only the economic damage caused, but also the loss of trust among many customers worldwide. The Executive Committee agrees that these incidents need to be clarified with great conviction and that mistakes are corrected. At the same time, the Executive Committee is adamant that it will take the necessary decisive steps to ensure a credible new beginning.

The Executive Committee is expecting further personnel consequences in the next days. The internal Group investigations are continuing at a high tempo. All participants in these proceedings that has resulted in unmeasurable harm for Volkswagen, will be subject to the full consequences.

The Executive Committee proposes that the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG create a special committee, under whose leadership further clarifying steps will follow, including the preparation of the necessary consequences. In this regard, the Special Committee would make use of external advice. Further details about this will be decided at the Supervisory Board meeting on Friday.

The Executive Committee is aware that coming to terms with the crisis of trust will be a long term task that requires a high degree of consistency and thoroughness. The Executive Committee will work on these tasks together with the employees and the Management Board. Volkswagen is a magnificent company that depends on the efforts of hundreds of thousands of people. We consider it our task that this company regains the trust of our customers in every respect.



Maybe I should be retired but I currently work 2 jobs. I am a minority owner and an engineer for a small company building some specialized high-tech self-propelled agricultural machinery.

My other job is advising the students working on the FormualSAE team (small formula type race car with about 60-80 hp) at the local university. Mostly, I advise the students on engineering design issues but last night I talked briefly on on VW problems and on corporate and engineering ethics in general. I hope that none of the students ever find themselves in this situation but I told them if they were asked to do something unethical that they should refuse and quit if necessary.

At my company, I am the engineer in charge of the engine issues and have some idea of the complexity of diesel emmissions. We currently use a Tier 3 115 hp John Deere engine but will need to switch to a Tier 4 final engine in the not too distant future. I spent an afternoon about 2 weeks ago talking to a John Deere rep about the different engine options and decided that it was best to go with an option that included a diesel particulate filter as it probably runs cleanest and could meet the new Euro 6 requirements. It is also more fuel efficient and uses less urea but off course it costs more upfront which is a typical tradeoff. I should note that we also use electric servo drives for most of the high power motions and recover energy during deceleration moves which saves a considerable amount of fuel.


Interesting article just ran in the on-line version of the NY times


The last two paragraphs are particularly interesting:

Dan Becker, director of the safe climate campaign at the Center for Auto Safety, said that in 2011 he was among a group of environmental lawyers and engineers that traveled to Germany to hear automakers make a pitch for diesel cars. He said that while BMW and Daimler had taken the group’s concerns seriously, Volkswagen officials had not.

“They talked down to us,” he said of the company. “They would definitely win an Academy Award for most egregious automaker. And this is one of the companies that tried desperately to get Americans to buy diesel. I think they just sank that ship.”


This is amazing and probably speaks volumes about the culture there, but in this PR (I assume) statement it is all about the harm to VW. Nobody else. Not harm to the customer. Not the air-breathing public. Not those afflicted with respiratory issues. So what would happen if there was no harm to VW? Promotions?


Winterkorn is going the full Clinton.

What is German for:

'I did not have sex with that emission control system?'


That makes no sense.


Who else in VW management had prior knowledge? Past chairmen perhaps? Nobody who follows VW believes that anything significant (especially this deliberate, planned and widespread) happens without full knowledge and backing of the most senior management.

This is only the beginning.


Who else in VW management had prior knowledge? Past chairmen perhaps? Nobody who follows VW believes that anything significant (especially this deliberate, planned and widespread) happens without full knowledge and backing of the most senior management.

This is only the beginning.


Winterkorn; the right thing to do. However, VW now has an even larger problem in changing its culture to respect and work within the intent of laws. Perhaps Pope Francis could come aboard. Now if we could just get the U.S. Republican party to listen to the Pope, it would be a better and cleaner World.


SD tier 4 is shutting down lots of would be engine makers...

Lad get your own religious leader :P I hear Tom Cruz is available?

I totally forget... but is EU catching up to Tier4 in terms of NOx HCs/Soot? Figure some of the Euro people would know.

Auto makers would probably love a world wide safety and emissions standard (well just in the 1st world countries)

James McLaughlin

I am fairly certain that Europe has caught up with the US in terms of diesel emissions regulations. On the heavy duty truck side, Europe is perhaps more strict on particulates and a bit less strict on NOx but essentially the same. The US got to the present standards two years ahead of Europe though. Enforcement is another matter and we are watching that play out.

The heavy duty diesel business had a similar scandal back in 1998. They learned their lesson but not all of the light duty OEMs learned from the mistakes on the heavy duty side.



OK, we REALLY need a voting system on comments because SJC and CheeseEater88 both deserve some up-votes for the laughs!!!

Account Deleted

VW (and nearly all other global automakers) have always been against tougher emission legislation and against better procedures for testing these emissions. The same goes for fuel efficiency. Their interest is to build cars that are inexpensive to manufacture and therefore sells better. Cheap cars means cars that are inefficient and polluting so the auto industry's fight for more pollution and less efficiency is understandable. It helps the auto industry sell more cars but it is extremely damaging for the society that gets a sick population with many suffering with respiratory diseases like asthma and with increased levels of all forms of cancer. WHO has estimated that 12% of all deaths on earths are caused by diseases related to air pollution so it is as serious as it gets. We can literally save 7 million people from dying prematurely every year if we eliminate air pollution. We also suffer from paying more for fuel and for having a society that need to go to war every time the middle east oil supply is threatened.

VW's cheating scandal is a very rare but blessing opportunity to change the culture and focus of the auto industry so that it actually starts to care about the harm that its causes because of emissions from their cars. What is needed is a huge fine to VW. 3 billion USD is not going to change the industry. 15 billion will be significant but could be forgotten after 10 years. However, make it a 30 to 40 USD billion fine and it will not be forgotten for the next 20 years. It will not bankrupt VW but it will make their shareholders (and the shareholders of other auto companies) understand that it is in their best interest to make cars that does not harm the society by excessive pollution. If the industry can pollute and cheat at no cost nothing will happen. Make it very costly and the industry will change its behaviour to be more in line with what is good for our society.

WHO on 7 million air pollution death.



Euro 6 has a maximum number of particles per KW-hr while in Tier 4 Final, the measurement is in grams per KW-hr. In terms of particulates, Euro 6 is harder to meet. Also Euro 6 kicks in sooner for smaller engines and keeps the same standard for larger engines while Tier 4 Final has looser standards for engines under 75 horsepower and over 750 hoursepower.

I think that all of the major engine manufacturers have Tier 4 final engines available but they differ some in strategy and some of the major engine builders have multiple offerings.


Personally what I am hearing in the news, VW may be in a world of hurt. More so than I thought earlier. If government officials knew for a while then the story is just beginning.

I thought Navistar was buying Cummins to put in their internationals for the time being. Its hard for the heavy industry with the tier4. I know all those that went with the heavy EGR route its not working out for them. SCR with DPFs are pretty much standard. Those engines will meet both standards.

I personally think it will be easier for manufacturers since the standards are converging. Before with EUs lesser restrictions on HC NOx and focus on CO2 and the US's focus on the opposite lead OEMs to basically design different stuff for different markets.

I wish the US would get its stuff together with regards to forward lighting... Halogen needs to go away, we should get all the fun stuff Europe has too

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