Just three weeks ago company veteran Winfried Vahland was in line to become the chief of the North American Volkswagen unit business, but he decided to resign on Wednesday, further intensifying the issues faced by the carmaker.
The German automaker has been trying to recover from the biggest crisis in its 78-year history after it admitted it had rigged US emissions tests and the illegal software it used was actually installed in 11 million autos sold over seven years across the globe. The news also comes after reports by German media that more than 30 managers at the company were allegedly involved in setting up the cheat procedures, though the carmaker refuted the news. Last week, speaking under oath in front of a Congressional panel, US boss Michael Horn claimed he believed only “a couple of software engineers” were actually responsible and the decision was not taken at a corporate level. “Vahland was a good manager,” commented the resignation London-based analyst Arndt Ellinghorst, who works for banking advisory firm Evercore ISI. “VW is facing massive challenges and a completely new start.” The automaker is being probed by numerous regulators – including the Federal Trade Commission, Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency in the US – around the world.
The scandal has so far killed off around a quarter of the company’s market value, delivered the resignation of its long-time chief executive and sent a massive shock wave throughout the worldwide automotive business and the German economy. Analysts believe the bill for the dieselgate scandal could be as high as 35 billion euros, covering recall costs, regulatory fines and potential lawsuits by consumers and investors.