Volkswagen chief executive Winterkorn resigns

Volkswagen (VW) Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned, just days after admitting that the world’s top-selling carmaker had rigged diesel emissions to pass US tests during his tenure.

No replacement was put forward following Wednesday’s announcement, and VW still has no easy exit from a scandal that has suddenly dented a reputation for trustworthiness that took decades to build.

The smog-test trickery has wiped out billions in VW’s market value and raised the specter of criminal investigations and billions more in fines.


Winterkorn took responsibility for the “irregularities” found by US inspectors in VW’s diesel engines, but insisted he had personally done nothing wrong.

“I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part,” his statement said.

“Volkswagen needs a fresh start … I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”

Winterkorn, 68, resigned following a crisis meeting of the Volkswagen supervisory board’s executive committee.

Its acting chairman, Berthold Huber, said company directors are “resolved to embark with determination on a credible new beginning”.

Huber said a successor will be discussed at a board meeting on Friday that was originally intended to approve extending Winterkorn’s contract through to 2018.