German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt announced Thursday the country’s automotive regulator has decided to order Volkswagen AG, the biggest carmaker in Europe, to initiate a mandatory recall of around 2.4 million autos in the beginning of next year.
Volkswagen, the world’s largest automaker by sales after he first six months, has acknowledged last month it had fitted diesel powered cars with illegal software designed to circumvent emission testing in the US and thus rig the actual level of polluting emissions spewed on the road. The scandal has sparked the biggest crisis in the company’s 78-year history, forcing out the long time CEO Martin Winterkorn and wiping off around a quarter of the market value. “The recall will begin at the start of 2016. The KBA will monitor the start of the recall action and its progress,” the top official told media representatives in Berlin on Thursday.
The automaker, which also admitted it had installed the illegal software in up to 11 million autos sold worldwide for the past seven years, has also been under massive pressure to find those responsible for the massive cheat. According to the latest reports, the company has now also suspended the chief of its main transmissions factory after progressing with the internal investigation. Falko Rudolph, head of VW’s factory in Kassel, Germany, has been placed on suspension following inquiries from internal investigators last week, a source told Reuters under condition of anonymity. The executive was the former manager of the VW engines facility in Salzgitter and was also in charge of leading the development of diesel engines at VW between 2006 and 2010.