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After several days of high drama, Martin Winterkorn has resigned from his position as chief executive of Volkswagen.
The German car maker embroiled in a growing scandal over the rigging of US emissions tests.
The sixty-eight year old said he was clearing the way for a fresh start of the company, following revelations that it cheated on the laboratory test in America
by using so-called defeat devices, software that detects when the car is undergoing an official test.
The revelations came about after researchers in Europe and the US alerted authorities to suspicious nitrogen oxide emission results for some VW cars.
On Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced its findings and ordered VW to recall half a million vehicles.
The following Monday, VW's US CEO issued an apology at an ill-timed launch party for the new Passat.
So let's be clear about this.
Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board, and with all of you.
And in my German words, we have totally screwed up.
We must fix those cars, the cars will prevent this from ever happening again, and we have to make things right.
VW has so far set aside 6.5 billion Euros to deal with some of the fallout from the scandal, which, it now says, affects around 11 million vehicles worldwide.
But though the CEO is gone, there's still much to concern investors, who have sent the shares down 30 percent so far this week.
There's a bunch of things for Volkswagen investors to worry about.
The first is really the fines, so the US regulator fines as well as potentially fines for the ten and a half million other diesel vehicles that are around the rest of the world.
There is also the issue of lawsuits, recalls.
And then taking a step further back and looking long-term, there is the question of how this impacts Volkswagen's business going forward.
Umm, their margins, are they gonna be able to go there?
Are people still gonna buy them?
Is it...Or are they gonna have to discount their cars to sell them?
Attention will also turn to other car makers.
No other manufacturer besides VW has been formally implicated in the scandal.
But climate groups have for some time been pointing to the gap between laboratory results and on-the-road emissions.
It's been clear that a lot of companies in the auto sector were doing their best to bend the rules of the official laboratory test,
which meant that particularly diesel cars in Europe have been emitting a lot more pollutants than the official test said they were.
But the Volkswagen deception using a software device that would so blatantly change the output of the car between the laboratory and the highway.
I think nobody has been caught doing anything like that.
The revelations have rapidly turned into the biggest crisis in VW's 78-year history.
And the situation still threatens to escalate further with the company saying more heads will roll over the scandal.
Some have even called it the car industry's LIBOR moment.
Well, it is an extremely serious scandal because it obviously involves deception and perhaps even fraud at the top of a very large company.
And you can look at scandals such as the LIBOR scandal in the banking industry where you had misbehavior that went on for years (that) was never discovered.
But when it was discovered, it really shocked everybody that this something so serious should have been going on.
And I think that the Volkswagen case is certainly on that level.
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How VW scandal will hit car sector I FT Business

761 Folder Collection
Noppe published on September 25, 2015
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