Volkswagen appoints new boss following resignation of chief executive over 'diesel exhaust cheat' scandal

Volkswagen has appointed a new boss two days after its previous head resigned over the "cheat switch scandal" which has engulfed the company.

Former Porshe boss Matthias Mueller was today appointed as the new CEO of the car giant after Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday.

Earlier the German carmaker admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide might have been fitted with software to trick emissions testers into believing their vehicles met environmental standards.

Once on the road, the cars produced nitrogen oxide pollutants at up to 40 times the legal US standard.

Its last head Martin Winterkorn resigned over the scandal on Wednesday, saying he was "shocked by the events of the past few days".

Mr Mueller, 62, formerly worked as VW's head product strategist, and is understood to have substantial backing among the carmaker's 20-member supervisory board.

Analysts said his first tasks at VW will be to clean out its senior management team, restructure costs and drive sales.

Mr Mueller's appointment was announced after the stock markets had closed so it is not possible to say exactly how investors will take the news, although it is fair to say his appointment was widely expected.

Volkswagen shares fell 4.3% to 108 euros (£80) today, meaning the carmaker has lost about a third of its value, or 26 billion euros (£19 billion), since the start of the crisis.

Mr Mueller, who trained as a toolmaker before studying IT has worked for various parts of the VW empire since the 1970s, experience that was seen as one of the decisive factors for the top job.

Equally importantly, he enjoys the support of the Porsche-Piech family clan who own the majority of the voting rights in VW.

In April, Mr Mueller was cited as a likely successor to Mr Winterkorn, during a power struggle at the carmaker with the Porsche-Piech family over sliding sales in the US and China.

Mueller is known for his laid-back style, often appearing at car shows in a casual jumper rather than the expensively-tailored suits favoured by fellow executives.

He has until recently joked that he was too old to run VW, which is the largest carmaker in the world by sales.

Mr Mueller was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt, now Chemnitz, in what was east Germany but left for the west when still a child.

He made his name as product manager for Audi's successful A3 model in the 1990s.

He then worked as VW's head product strategist until 2010 when he was asked to lead Porsche.

Under his leadership, Porsche has successfully added new models and is expected to boost sales to 200,000 vehicles this year, hitting a long-held target three years early.