By Carlos A. Quiroga
A lie, repeated millions of times, has collapsed the credibility of the largest auto company in the world, Volkswagen, hitting the global prestige of German industry.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned early Wednesday. The admission of guilt is just the first step in a long process of payment of faults and restoration of credibility that the German giant has to go to regain the trust of its customers.
The scam was the selling in the United States of up to 11 million cars from VW and Audi with a computer system that concealed the actual emission levels.
The CEO could not overcome the worst scandal in the 78 year history of Volkswagen, a company that just last year had become the world’s largest, in number of cars sold, displacing Japan’s Toyota.
Researchers of a university of Virginia discovered the fraud, in a new sign of the importance of academic research in US economic and political life.
On Monday and Tuesday, the scandal has led VW to big losses on exchanges, totaling more than 30,000 million dollars. Final losses may be even greater.