Hiring law firm
The company has said it would appoint a U.S. law firm to conduct a full investigation into the emissions scandal, suspend an unspecified number of staff and adopt a more decentralized structure with a slimmed down management board.
But the crisis keeps growing. German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt said on Thursday Volkswagen had also cheated on tests in Europe, where its sales are much higher than in the U.S. Dobrindt today put the number of affected vehicles in Germany at 2.8 million.
Regulators and prosecutors across the world are investigating the scandal, while customers and investors are launching lawsuits.
The wider car market has been rocked too, with manufacturers fearing a drop in sales of diesel cars and more stringent testing.
Regulators in Europe and the United States said today they would take a harder line on enforcing compliance with pollution standards and would be less tolerant of gaps between real world emissions and laboratory results.
Volkswagen said on Tuesday 11 million vehicles worldwide were fitted with the software that allowed it to cheat U.S. tests, while adding it was not turned on in the bulk of them.
The company's decision to retain Horn to oversee U.S. operations was quickly viewed as a victory for VW's dealers, who issued a public statement in support of Horn on Thursday.
"This tells the U.S. dealer body and customer that Michael Horn had no knowledge or involvement in this EPA scandal," Alan Brown, chairman of Volkswagen’s 12-member National Dealer Advisory Council said in an email to Automotive News. Brown is general manager of two large VW dealerships in suburban Dallas.
"It clearly unites the dealer body because the dealer body was so united on knowing that Michael could help us put this back on track. It has put the dealer network in a very good place because now we know truly that Michael is clear of this."
"The real work has now just begun, and the real work is uniting us as a manufacturer and dealers to make things right for our customers."
He added: "I can tell you on behalf of the dealers I’ve talked to so far, and the employees in Herndon I’ve talked to so far, I’ve not talked to one person that is not ecstatic that Michael horn is still in charge."
Ryan Beene, Christiaan Hetzner, Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.