Volkswagen, struggling to find its way in the wake of an increasingly turbulent emissions cheating scandal – dieselgate – will tap Matthias Mueller for its top post. Mueller is now head of the Porsche Division. The job became vacant on Wednesday when former CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down after the scandal became public. Mueller’s appointment was to be approved today at a meeting of the supervisory board of the automaker.
Mueller, 62, is a veteran Volkswagen employee. He began his career in as a toolmaker for the automaker before moving over to the information technology side of the house Mueller is said to have the support of the Porsche and Piech families. The families own the majority of Volkswagen stock. Mueller is also said to have the support of the German state of Lower Saxony, which also owns 20 percent of Volkswagen.
Mueller’s likely ascension to the top post at Volkswagen comes during a turbulent week that saw the automaker accused of gaming U.S. diesel emissions rules on nearly 500,000 cars. A week ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered the automaker to recall the vehicles for significant emissions discrepancies. The agency said that VW had installed a “defeat device” that reset software that controlled emissions levels in its diesel cars.
Part of the emissions control programming, the emissions cheat or scamware watched to see if the vehicles were being put into test mode. On entering test model, emissions were cleaned up and quickly passed U.S. mandates. As soon as the testing was over, the software returned the emissions controls to their everyday settings. Under the test configuration, performance suffered but emissions were cleaned up. When the vehicles reverted to their everyday settings, performance improved drastically but emissions suffered. In some cases, researchers found that the difference in the emissions of oxides of nitrogen was as much as 35 percent.
The cheating has begun to cost VW dearly. According to Automotive News, J.P. Morgan is considering a negative recommendation on Volkswagen’s credit. Moody’s, another major player in the credit markets, has already rated the automaker negatively. And, Automotive News reported today, which the attorneys general of 27 states have banded together to seek combined action against the automaker for the emission cheating.
And, an independent dealer group in California says it may also take action against the automaker because the scandal has left them with vehicles they cannot sell.
And, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has announced that it is considering action against the automaker in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal.
Meantime, it was also reported that the tidal wave surging from the diesel cheating scandal is about the engulf small trucks.