Carmaker Volkswagen Group has announced the suspension of one of its high-ranking executives. This followed the revelations that German automakers used humans and monkeys to test the effects of diesel fumes.
Head of Group External Relations and Sustainability Thomas Steg will not be reporting to work until the further investigation has been done. Volkswagen said on Tuesday that Steg voluntarily asked for the suspension.
“We are currently in the process of investigating the work of the EUGT, which was dissolved in 2017 and drawing all the necessary consequences. Mr. Steg has declared that he will assume full responsibility. I respect his decision,” said Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller in a statement.
He also admitted that over the weekend, it will certainly take a long time before they can once again “regain lost trust.”
“The methods used by EUGT in the United States were wrong, they were unethical and repulsive,” Mueller said. “I am sorry that Volkswagen was involved in the matter as one of the sponsors of EUGT.”
On Monday, Volkswagen took the responsibility of helping finance a 2014 study which used caged monkeys and forced them to inhale fumes from a diesel Beetle. The tests were first revealed on the 25th.
According to VW senior official, Steg was in charge of the EUGT and had prior knowledge of the monkey experiments. Despite this, he had made no effort to stop them.
A report showed that EUGT received all of its funding from VW, and fellow German carmakers Daimler and BMW.
VW’s Supervisory Board
The automaker faced inquiries after the revelation. This made the company’s supervisory board call in for an immediate inquiry as to who commissioned the tests.
VW supervisory board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said in a statement, “I will do everything possible to ensure that this matter is investigated in detail.”
According to Poetch’s spokesperson, a meeting will be conducted next week with the supervisory board’s executive committee. They will be discussing the internal investigations and make sure that no such incidents will be repeated.
“The boundaries of decent and moral conduct were clearly crossed,” said VW’s labor boss Bernd Osterloh. He then added that he will be adamant in voicing out the workers’ opposition to such tests during next week’s meeting. “It appears as if some at VW have lost their ethical and moral bearings.”
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