Embattled carmaker Volkswagen has named Matthias Mueller to take the wheel after CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down earlier this week in the wake of a growing scandal involving some 11 million diesel vehicles equipped with software that cheated emissions testing.
Mueller, the head of VW’s Porsche sports-car division, had been widely expected to be Winterkorn’s replacement.
“Mueller, 62, would represent part of the fresh start that Winterkorn said was needed when he stepped down.
“The board will also dismiss the head of its U.S. business, the top engineers of its luxury Audi and Porsche brands and the head of brand development at its VW division, sources added, aiming to show it is acting decisively to end the crisis.”
The interim chairman of the supervisor board of Volkswagen AG, Berthold Huber, in a statement called Mueller “a person of great strategic, entrepreneurial and social competence. He knows the Group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy. We expressly value his critical and constructive approach.”
The announcement comes on the same day that Germany’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, said Volkswagen rigged emissions tests on some 2.8 million diesel vehicles in that country, following revelations last week that it had manipulated tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In response to “Dieselgate,” the EPA head of transportation and air quality, Chris Grundler, says the agency is sending letters to automakers promising that the agency is “upping our game,” by improving its ability to detect defeat devices and software such as those used by Volkswagen.
NPR’s Yuki Noguchi says the countermeasures the EPA says it will deploy would be designed to detect so-called defeat devices that block accurate test results.
“Today we’re putting vehicle manufacturers on notice that our testing is now going to include additional valuation and tests designed to look for potential defeat devices,” Grundler said, speaking to reporters. “We aren’t going to tell them what these tests are. They don’t need to know. They only need to know we’re going to keep their vehicles a little bit longer, and we’re going to be driving them a little bit more.”