Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn faces a reckoning with his board, summoned to explain how the company falsified U.S. emissions tests in the biggest scandal in the 78-year history of the world's largest car maker. Ivor Bennett reports.
There are still plenty of Volkswagens on the road here. But then again, these drivers don't really have a choice. Their destination - company headquarters in Wolfsburg. A commute one employee at least may not be making for much longer. CEO Martin Winterkorn's future is increasingly in doubt as the scandal engulfing the company goes from bad to worse. VW's senior supervisory board is grilling him over just how much he knew. Baader Bank's Robert Halver says resignation is the only option. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CAPITAL MARKET ANALYSIS AT BAADER BANK, ROBERT HALVER, SAYING: "No matter who was involved, whoever knew about this must step down. Volkswagen must make clear that they are the repentant sinners. And they must lay everything onto the table. The whole truth, not glossed. The U.S. will like that, so the penalty will not be too large." The maximum fine they could face is 18 billion dollars. for falsifying pollutant levels in emissions tests on some of its diesel models in America. They've since said it could affect 11 million vehicles worldwide. But if honesty helps them, there's no saving Germany, says Commerzbank's Peter Dixon. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER DIXON, COMMERZBANK, SAYING: "For an economy which has staked its reputation on building high quality goods, which are certainly significantly ahead of the competition, and for which you have to pay a premium, then certainly there's the prospect that that premium has been damaged and it might also therefore end up hurting corporate profits in the long-run." Volkswagen shares lost more than a third of their value in the last two days alone. Although they recovered after another early fall on Wednesday, JP Morgan, among others, cut their rating. Markets wondering where it can go from here.