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Winterkorn quits Audi as VW investigation slows

Heads roll: Martin Winterkorn has now stepped down as head of Audi, while Volkswagen's head of corporate communications has also resigned.

Former VW boss steps down from Audi as focus switches from finding cure to cause

12 Nov 2015

FORMER Volkswagen Group chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn has relinquished another one of his key posts in the VW empire, stepping down from the top role at Audi.

Mr Winterkorn was the first executive to leave VW in the wake of the emissions scandal that broke in September, but his roles in the wider group included top posts at Audi, Porsche and Scania, among others.

He resigned from the Porsche board in October, and resigns from his position as Audi chairman with immediate effect.

Mr Winterkorn has been strident in his own defence, denying any knowledge of the cheat device program until a few days before the US EPA issued notices to the Volkswagen Group of America.

The notices notified VW that its diesel cars were emitting up to 25 times the legal amount of nitrous oxide thanks to rogue software that fooled emissions test procedures.

An internal VW investigation has cleared Mr Winterkorn of responsibility for the deliberate evasion, but criminal investigations in Germany remain outstanding.

Meanwhile, the company has told a panel of journalists in Berlin that it wants to lock down a definitive fix for the 11 million cars caught up in the worldwide scandal, before looking for the perpetrators.

“I understand the desire for speed, but what matters to us instead is to work thoroughly and to not give out false, premature results,” said VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann.

Reuters reported in October that up to 40 individuals are being investigated in relation to the software cheat. Heads continue to roll the company’s head of corporate communications, Andreas Lampersbach, has resigned, and follows the departure of the VW Group’s head of design, Walter Maria de Silva, last week.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen Australia says that the goodwill gesture made by VWGoA to owners of 2.0-litre diesel owners last week will not be replicated here.

A spokesperson told GoAuto that the vehicles in the US and Canada are subject to a significantly more stringent emissions legislation, and that they will consequently have to wait longer for remedies than owners in most other countries.

“Locally, we haven’t announced a program as Volkswagen AG is putting together a package of measures for each market designed to achieve high customer satisfaction,” said the spokesperson.

“Over and above the vehicle recall work, Volkswagen Group Australia will be backing it up with the best of customer support in conjunction with our dealers.”

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