Date
30 March 2017
Martin Winterkorn's future remains uncertain following the biggest scandal in Volkswagen's history. Photo: Bloomberg
Martin Winterkorn's future remains uncertain following the biggest scandal in Volkswagen's history. Photo: Bloomberg

VW chief under pressure as emissions-rigging scandal widens

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn’s future hangs in the balance following the emissions-rigging scandal, which has knocked more than US$30 billion off the German automaker’s market value in the past two days.

The executive committee of VW’s supervisory board will meet Wednesday to discuss the crisis facing the company after it admitted to cheating on emissions data in millions of diesel powered cars. 

A critical point in the discussion will be what Winterkorn knew about a scheme intended to dupe regulators and consumers about emissions of diesel engines installed in 11 million cars worldwide, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The 68-year-old CEO’s survival hangs on convincing a few key power players, including Wolfgang Porsche, head of the family that controls a majority of VW’s voting shares, the report said.

The group first met Tuesday evening to begin discussing how to handle the crisis as the German government demands the automaker take quick action.

Talks may continue on Friday at a gathering of the full 20-person board, which plays an oversight role, the report said.

Winterkorn did not mention his future in a video message posted on the company’s website in which he repeated his apology for the scandal.

VW shares fell another 20 percent on Tuesday, after tumbling nearly 19 percent in the previous session, as some countries in Europe and Asia said they too will launch investigations.

The company said it will set aside 6.5 billion euros (US$7.3 billion) in its third-quarter accounts to help cover the costs of the emissions-cheating scandal, Reuters reported.

The US Environmental Protection Agency said last Friday that VW could face penalties of up to US$18 billion for cheating emissions tests.

In addition, the US Justice Department is said to have launched a criminal probe into the German automaker.

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