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VW turns to Porsche boss to steer it out of crisis

The 62-year-old Matthias Mueller is expected to succeed Martin Winterkorn who quit on Wednesday.

Porsche President and Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller. Picture: Screengrab via press.porsche.com

BERLIN - Volkswagen will name Matthias Mueller, the head of its Porsche sports car brand, as its chief executive, a source close to the matter said on Thursday, as the fallout from the US vehicle emissions test rigging scandal broadened.

Mueller, 62, has been widely tipped to succeed Martin Winterkorn, who quit on Wednesday, when the German carmaker's supervisory board meets on Friday.

He will take responsibility for steering Volkswagen through the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history.

The crisis deepened on Thursday as officials in Europe and the United States stepped up their investigations.

Germany's transport minister said Volkswagen had manipulated tests in Europe too.

"We have been informed that also in Europe, vehicles with 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesel engines are affected by the manipulations that are being talked about," Alexander Dobrindt told reporters, adding it was unclear how many vehicles in Europe were affected.

Dobrindt said Europe would agree on new emissions tests in coming months that should take place on roads, rather than in laboratories, and that random checks would be made on all manufacturers.

Separately, a group of at least 27 US state attorneys general launched a multi-state investigation of Volkswagen's representations to consumers about its diesel vehicles, and said it will send subpoenas to the automaker.

DRIVERS WORRIED

Two sources close to the matter said Volkswagen would create a special position for the United States on its management board on Friday, with the head of its Skoda brand, Winfried Vahland, the favourite to get the job.

The new CEO will also need to improve communications with dealers and customers, with many frustrated that Volkswagen has yet to say which models and construction years are affected by the crisis and whether cars will have to be refitted.

Volkswagen said in a statement on its website it was working to answer these questions. "It goes without saying that we will take full responsibility and cover costs for the necessary arrangements and measures."

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