2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Martin Winterkorn sticks to his statements. The former VW boss confirmed to the Bundestag investigative committee that he only learned of the manipulation of diesel engines in September.
The ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn, who was overthrown over the emissions affair at Volkswagen, sticks to his portrayal of not having known about the diesel manipulation earlier than previously admitted. Some reports suggested this, said Winterkorn on Thursday in the investigative committee of the Bundestag in Berlin.
"That's not the case. (…) I also didn't get any access to the files. " He asked for your understanding that he would not comment on this further, the manager explained to the committee, which is supposed to deal with a possible co-responsibility of politics in the late uncovering of falsified emissions from millions of diesel cars.
Winterkorn demands complete clarification
According to official information, the VW board of directors only learned of the manipulations that were first discovered in the USA in early September 2015. Winterkorn held on to it. Recently, however, there have also been reports that a manager meeting at the end of July 2015 should have discussed the strategy with investigating US authorities.
The ex-VW boss emphasized that he was sorry for what happened: "What happened makes people angry - me too." By resigning at the end of September 2015, he assumed responsibility. Now more “complete clarification is the order of the day”.
Politicians and authorities informed quickly
After it became known, he himself quickly informed the federal government and authorities about the extent. Following the report by the US environmental authorities about violated limit values on the 18th, an internal VW conference call on the 19th and a round with executives on September 20th, he contacted Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) at the beginning of the following week (September 21st)) agile. The head of the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), Ekhard Zinke, was then put into the picture by him. "I told them: not only do we have a US problem, we also have a problem in the rest of the world." Before that he had never spoken to Zinke personally.
It only gradually became clear how many vehicle types were affected by the manipulation of diesel emissions. However, the full implications and possible solutions were not yet clear at this point. On Tuesday (September 22, 2015), Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was informed. Winterkorn did not provide any information on previous contacts in politics due to irregularities in exhaust gas measurements.
Resignation "the hardest step of my life"
At the same time, the 69-year-old described his resignation in autumn 2015 as “the hardest step of my life”. He has to live with the fact that his name is closely linked to the diesel affair about excessive emissions, said Winterkorn. He would never have thought it possible that millions of Volkswagen customers had been deceived.
Winterkorn said he was “a person who values an open word,” and in 35 years at VW he had spoken to employees almost every day. "It is hard to understand why I was not informed about the measurement problems early and clearly." To this day, it is unclear when Winterkorn, as CEO, was informed about the events. The testimony to the investigative committee was the manager's first major public appearance since his resignation. (dpa)