Volkswagen scandal live: CEO Martin Winterkorn ousted over diesel emissions that could cause thousands of premature deaths

VW launched California diesel recall in April, but didn’t tell people why while talks with US regulator were ongoing

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The Independent Online

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Martin Winterkorn, the chief executive of Volkswagen, has resigned just days after it emerged that the company had cheated emissions tests in the US.

Winterkorn, who has run the company since 2007, said at a press conference following a day of board deliberations that the company needed a fresh start.

"I am clearing the way for a this fresh start with my resignation," Winterkorn said. "I am shocked by events of the past few days. Above all, I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in Volkswagen Group."

The company also made it clear that more senior heads will roll, writing in a statement: "The executive committee is expecting further personnel consequences in the next few days."

Winterkorn said that as CEO, he took responsibility for the scandal, but also said that he was "not aware of any wrongdoing" on his part. Volkswagen admitted on Friday that it had been rigging emissions tests to comply with regulations since 2009.

As many as 11 million vehicles worldwide could have been fitted with so-called "cheat switches" that mask the true level of emissions they emit during tests.