Audi, Porsche and VW United States chiefs fired amid emissions scandal

Audi, Porsche and VW United States chiefs fired amid emissions scandal

The US Justice Department said late Thursday that it was taking the allegations against VW "very seriously" and was working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its own inquiry.

The company has told officials that the vehicles in question included cars with 1.6-litre and 2-litre diesel engines in Europe, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said Thursday. The committee is to speak with executives at Volkswagen's headquarters in Wolfsburg and request access to documents, the ministry said in a statement.

Germany's transport minister said VW admitted to the same type of diesel emissions cheating in Europe as it did in the U.S. S&P put VW on a downgrade warning. However, it remains unclear whether the devices helped cheat the emissions tests in Europe like in the U.S.

At least 482,000 cars are to be recalled in the USA and the carmaker could face penalties of more than $18bn (£11bn) there alone.

Volkswagen says it is reorganizing its North America business under Winfried Vahland, until now chairman of the board of directors at Skoda.

Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn has announced his resignation. "Occasionally, our and your patience will be tested, but... carefulness is even more important than speed". Volkswagen's supervisory board is meeting Friday to discuss who to name as CEO after Martin Winterkorn quit the job this week over an emissions-rigging scandal that's rocking the world's top-selling automaker.

"We don't yet have figures for how many of these 11 million cars that are apparently affected are in Europe", Dobrindt said.

"He knows the group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy", Huber said. Beyond Mueller, they include Audi boss Rupert Stadler, 52; Herbert Diess, 56, a relative newcomer to the company who previously worked at BMW and became head of the VW brand in July; and Andreas Renschler, 57, a recent arrival from Daimler who heads the commercial vehicles division.

The new CEO will also need to improve its communications with dealers and customers, with many frustrated that Volkswagen has yet to say which models and construction years are affected by the crisis and whether cars will have to be refitted.

USA regulators could impose fines worth billions of dollars, and prosecutors on both sides of the Atlantic are considering launching criminal investigations. EU regulators said they were in contact with Volkswagen and US authorities following the car-maker's admission it had rigged emissions tests, and called on member states to rigorously enforce the relevant law.

"Winterkorn says he is shocked by the wrongdoing, and that he didn't know about it at the time", writes our man PH. "This is what these types are driven by", Hanold said.

So far, no other carmaker has been found to have used "defeat devices".