The former CEO of Volkswagen, Martin Winterkorn, says, "What happened makes people furious - me too."
In the days after the public learned about the massive diesel emissions cheating at VW, CEO Martin Winterkorn was forced to resign. That was all in September 2015. The story goes that high-up VW executives learned about the situation in late August of that year. The question is who knew about it way before August.
Winterkorn is now under criminal investigation for fraud, and he says that he had no idea bout the diesel cheat until that late-August date. He did not say when, exactly, he learned about the cheats, but said, while speaking to German politicians who are investigating the case, Winterkorn said, "I too am looking for satisfactory answers. ... What happened makes people furious - me too. I am deeply upset that we disappointed millions of our customers. For that I apologize."
As a refresher, VW has admitted that it put software into some of its diesel vehicles so that they would pass emissions tests but then perform differently (and with higher levels of emissions) in the real world. The company has agreed to pay billions in fines and is also working on fixes for its vehicles. Winterkorn told the German committee that, "software applications represent a very specific area of work in engine development," and so he had no idea that the cheating was going on. "Everyone who knows me knows that I have always placed great value on quality," he said, according to Automotive News. "From the outside it's difficult to understand how something like this could happen at a company that is so focused on quality. Even I don't. ... It's incomprehensible why I wasn't informed early and clearly. I would have prevented any type of deception or misleading of authorities."