Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn will today face the company’s supervisory board to explain his role in the emissions scandal engulfing the carmaker, amid reports his job is on the line.
Last night New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued a statement confirming his office would be investigating Volkswagen.
He said: “No company should be allowed to evade our environmental laws or promise consumers a fake bill of goods.
“That is why my office is investigating troubling reports that millions of Volkswagen cars carried software designed to cheat emissions tests that protect our environment. We look forward to collaborating with Attorneys General across the nation on this matter.”
Yesterday Winterkorn issued a video statement saying he would do “everything necessary to reverse the damage... and everything necessary to win back trust – step by step”.
He urged against blaming the “honest” 600,000 staff “because of mistakes made by only a few.”
“Our team does not deserve that,” Winterkorn said.
The car boss insisted there would be a quick resolution to the scandal, which has wiped billions off Volkswagen’s share price in the last two days.
Yesterday morning the car giant said it was setting aside €6.5bn (£4.2bn) for potential financial fallout from the scandal, admitting that up to 11m vehicles could be affected worldwide.
Investors and analysts were unimpressed by Winterkorn’s response.
David Papier, head of sales trading at ETX Capital, told City A.M. that “someone needs to fall on their sword.”
“Ultimately responsibility lies with the chief executive as he is the one who has been signing it off... [But] if there is a class action lawsuit and it is proved that senior management have lied about it then there will need to be further action against management,” Papier added.
“The fact is they have been caught lying red-handed, and a number of people may have to pay the price.”