Volkswagen apologises to shareholders for emissions scandal

Image: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Volkswagen executives have addressed a general meeting of shareholders for the first time since the September “defeat device” scandal broke, apologising for the company’s behaviour.

“On behalf of the Volkswagen Group and everyone who works here, I apologise to you shareholders for your trust in Volkswagen being betrayed,” CEO Matthias Mueller told the meeting in Hanover, attended by around 3,000 shareholders.

“This misconduct goes against everything that Volkswagen stands for.”

Volkswagen admitted last year to selling 11 million cars with diesel engines containing software to cheat emissions tests.

The company has set aside 16.2 billion euro to deal with the scandal.

One attendee, Ulrich Hocker of Germany’s DSW association of private investors, called the company’s management a “collective failure” and a “shambles”

“The stock has plunged 50 percent, market share keeps shrinking and diesel engines which long have been portrayed as the savior are just a big bluff,” Hocker said, according to Reuters.

Previous CEO Martin Winterkorn is under investigation by German prosecutors for alleged market manipulation, due to a failure to make the news public immediately.