Volkswagen CEO Resigns Amid Diesel Emissions Standards Scandal

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Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is seen attending the company's annual press conference on March 13, 2014, in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is seen attending the company's annual press conference on March 13, 2014, in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has resigned less than a week after federal and state regulators said the company had used software to cheat U.S. emissions standards.

In a statement Wednesday, Winterkorn said that as chief executive, he accepts responsibility for the “irregularities that have been found in diesel engines.”

“I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part,” he said. “Volkswagen needs a fresh start — also in terms of personnel. I am clearing the way for this fresh start with my resignation.”

The VW diesel emissions scandal now includes 11 million vehicles worldwide and threatens to destroy the credibility and market value of a global behemoth that was already showing signs of instability. On Friday, federal and state regulators said the German automaker used software in 482,000 of its diesel vehicles since the 2009 model year to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.

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