Economy, Auto
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Volkswagen New Chief to Tackle Emissions Crisis

Volkswagen New Chief to Tackle Emissions CrisisVolkswagen New Chief to Tackle Emissions Crisis

Volkswagen named company veteran Matthias Mueller its chief executive on Friday, as the German carmaker struggles to get to grips with a crisis over rigged diesel emission tests that its chairman called "a moral and political disaster."

After a marathon board meeting at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, the world's biggest automaker said Mueller, the 62-year-old head of its Porsche sports car division, would replace Martin Winterkorn, who resigned as CEO on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

As Mueller took the helm, however, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt announced the carmaker had manipulated test results for about 2.8 million vehicles in the country, nearly six times as many as it has admitted to falsifying in the United States, pointing to cheating on a bigger scale than previously thought.

Volkswagen, for generations a model of German engineering prowess, is under huge pressure to take decisive action over the biggest business-related scandal in its 78-year history.

"Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do all it can to develop and implement the strictest compliance and governance standards in the whole industry," Mueller said in a statement.

The company said it would appoint a US law firm to conduct a full investigation, suspend an unspecified number of staff and adopt a more decentralized structure with a slimmed down management board.

But the scandal keeps growing. Dobrindt said on Thursday Volkswagen had also cheated tests in Europe, where its sales are much higher than in the United States. On Friday, he put the number of affected vehicles in Germany at 2.8 million.

Regulators and prosecutors across the world are investigating the scandal, while customers and investors are launching lawsuits.

The wider car market has been rocked too, with manufacturers fearing a drop in sales of diesel cars and tougher testing.

Regulators in Europe and the United States said on Friday they would take a harder line on enforcing compliance with pollution standards and would be less tolerant of gaps between real world emissions and laboratory results.

 

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