Winterkorn said he was shocked at the events that have taken place the past couple of days and above all stunned that this misconduct on this large of a scale was possible in the company’
In a statement he added that he was not aware of the wrongdoing that took place.
The committee made an extraordinary step by saying it would submit a criminal complaint about the actions of the company to German prosecutors. However, the panel said that Winterkorn did not have anything to do with the emissions software.
Volkswagen’s board was expected to appoint Winterkorn’s successor on Friday. The board’s executive committee has proposed that the complete board establish a panel that would consult with outside advisers to carry out the necessary consequences for the automaker.
The scandal has smashed the stock at Volkswagen, spawned investigation by the government, brought about lawsuits, called into question the future of the diesel vehicles it carries and raised questions about the knowledge Winterkorn had of the entire situation.
Winterkorn said Volkswagen needed a fresh start and he was clearing the way for the fresh start by resigning. He said that Volkswagen had been and will always be his life.
The company has admitted to installing software in 11 million vehicles to trick regulators into thinking the cars were compliant with the strict emissions standards of the country.
The company has set aside over $7.3 billion that will pay for the expected cost this scandal a figure it did acknowledge could very well change.
Dealers were ordered to stop selling the autos in question, which could emit harmful pollutants at rates that are as much as 40 times above the standards in the U.S.