Volkswagen 1.6 TDI Motor.jpg
Photograph: Volkswagen

An association of US Volkswagen dealers has slammed the German carmaker's "mismanagement" of a far-reaching emissions scandal, saying its decision to remove Michael Horn as chief executive in the US puts the company "at more risk, not less."

Europe's largest carmarker, which admitted in September that 11 million of its diesel-powered vehicles were fitted with software that cheats on emissions tests, announced overnight that Horn would step down and that Heinrich Woebcken would take his place.

"We are troubled watching the mismanagement of this scandal, and how it may impact the ultimate decisions by the authorities in the United States," the company's US dealership network said in a statement released after the announcement.

"This change in management can only serve to put the company at more risk, not less," the statement said.

Media reports on Wednesday said that US authorities had widened their investigation into the emissions scandal through the use of bank fraud and tax laws. The US Justice Department declined to comment on the revelations.

A VW spokeswoman only said that the company would continue to cooperate with all relevant US authorities. VW already faces more than 500 lawsuits from US car owners.

German prosecutors said Tuesday they were expanding the number of suspects in their probe from six to 17, adding that the suspects did not include former or current board members.

Prosecutors in France announced this week that they are planning to launch a serious fraud investigation into the carmaker. About 950,000 VW cars in France are affected by the scandal.

VW's top union representative, Bernd Osterloh, warned Tuesday that there could be drastic consequences in the wake of the scandal.

"If Volkswagen's sustainability is endangered by a penalty of a unique size, this will also have dramatic social consequences - not just at our US locations, but also in Europe and elsewhere," Osterloh told a meeting of VW workers.

Separately, company sources told dpa on Thursday that the scandal would result in about 3,000 administrative job cuts by the end of 2017.

Sources in the company said that the job cuts would be managed through partial retirement schemes and a redistribution of tasks and that no employee would be forced out.

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.