Volkswagen appoints Matthias Mueller as chief executive

Beleaguered car manufacturer has admitted to falsifying car emission tests

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Volkswagen as appointed Matthias Mueller as its new chief executive two days after former chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned, despite insisting that he was not involved in rigging emissions tests for diesel cars in the US.

Mr Mueller was appointed after a day of deliberation by Volkswagen’s 20-strong supervisory committee to find a replacement for Winterkorn, who has led the company since 2007. The company revealed last week that it had been falsifying tests since 2009.

Volkswagen has set aside  €6.5 billion to deal with the scandal that has already cost Winterkorn his job. Its new chief executive with have to deal with reputational damage on a scale that has been compared to the fallout from the BP oil spill.

Volkswagen has admitted to falsifying the results of emissions tests for the Jetta, Beetle, Audi, A3 and Golf models dating 2009-2015 and Passat models dating 2014-2015 to pass stringent US Environment Protection Agency regulations.

Volkswagen installed a ‘defeat device’ in its emissions software that reduced the amount of nitrogen oxides that were released in a test scenario. Diesel cars have been found to emit up to seven times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides on the road. The gases can cause respiratory problems and premature death.

The German transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, said on Thursday that Volkswagen used the same software to falsify emissions tests in Europe.

It is not known how many of the 11 million affected vehicles are in Europe.

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