Porche's Mueller to replace Winterkorn at Volkswagen

As the emissions-gassed Volkswagen board meets today to find a successor to Martin Winterkorn, all indications are that it will name Matthias Mueller, CEO of its Porsche sports car division, as the new chief executive.

Matthias Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen's Porsche sports car divisionMueller, 62, has been widely tipped to succeed Martin Winterkorn, who quit on Wednesday (See:Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn quits over `Dieselgate').

He will take responsibility for steering Volkswagen through the biggest business crisis in its 78-year history, as the scandal over rigging US emission tests widens to other markets (Volkswagen admits 11 mn vehicles fitted with fumes suppression software).

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

"We have been informed that also in Europe, vehicles with 1.6 and 2.0 liter diesel engines are affected by the manipulations that are being talked about," Alexander Dobrindt told reporters, adding that 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.

''I am furious that the world's leading car company willfully took steps that polluted our environment and deceived consumers,'' Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement.

In Sacramento, California, that state's top air quality regulator said her agency is preparing a series of actions against Volkswagen in response to the company's admission that it cheated on tailpipe pollution tests. "Right now we are organizing ourselves for a major enforcement action," said Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board.

The state also intends to order a recall of Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the state with software that enabled the cars to pass the agency's emissions tests, but then emit far more pollution on the road.

Volkswagen has said 11 million cars globally that had the emissions-cheating software fitted, but it was not activated in the bulk of them. As well as the cost of regulatory fines and potentially refitting cars, Volkswagen faces criminal investigations and lawsuits from cheated customers and possibly shareholders.

More immediately, the new CEO will have to restore the confidence of customers and motor dealers, who have expressed frustration at a lack of information about how they will be affected by the scandal.