Volkswagen will start firing people responsible for rigging US emissions tests and shake up management on Friday, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.
In an email to Business Insider, however, a VW spokesperson called the reports speculation.
The news echoes what occurred this week when VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was reported in the German media to have resigned, only to contradict that news.
Winterkorn did step down on Wednesday
On Monday, Horn told an audience gathered in New York for the reveal for the reveal of the 2016 Passat sedan that VW had “totally screwed up” by systematically deceiving regulators in the the US, installing software in nearly 500,o00 of its TDI diesel cars that was designed to cheat emissions tests.
VW later admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide are affected.
The supervisory board of Europe’s biggest automaker is meeting on Friday to decide a successor to chief executive Martin Winterkorn, who resigned on Wednesday.
Reuters’ sources said the board would give initial findings from an internal investigation into who was responsible for programming some diesel cars to detect when they were being tested and alter the running of the engines to conceal their true emissions.
Several top managers could be replaced, even if they did not know about the deception. Horn and group sales chief Christian Klingler are seen as potentially vulnerable.
Volkswagen shares have plunged around 20 per cent since U.S. regulators said on Friday the company could face up to $US18 billion in penalties for falsifying emissions tests.
Regulators in Europe and Asia have said they will also investigate, while Volkswagen faces criminal inquiries and lawsuits from cheated customers.
When he resigned, Winterkorn denied he knew of any wrongdoing but said the company needed a fresh start.
“There will be further personnel consequences in the next days and we are calling for those consequences,” Volkswagen board member Olaf Lies told the Bavarian broadcasting network, without elaborating.
The heads of Volkswagen’s Porsche brand, Matthias Mueller; Audi brand, Rupert Stadler; and VW brand, Herbert Diess, are seen as the front-runners to succeed Winterkorn, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
(Writing by Mark Potter; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David Stamp)
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