Volkswagen’s top US executive out amid emissions scandal

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, the logo of Volkswagen is displayed on a car during the Car Show in Frankfurt, Germany. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal widened Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that clandestine software allowing six-cylinder Volkswagen diesel engines to cheat on pollution tests is on more models than originally thought. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Volkswagen’s top U.S. executive is stepping down amid the company’s ongoing emissions cheating scandal.

Volkswagen Group of America announced Wednesday that president and chief executive Michael Horn is leaving “to pursue other opportunities effective immediately.” He had been with the German auto maker for 25 years, assuming his most recent post in 2014.

Horn’s sudden departure comes as the company continues to grapple with the fallout from its admission last year that nearly 600,000 cars were sold in the U.S. with software that regulators say was designed to cheat on required emissions tests.

The company potentially faces more than $20 billion in fines from state and federal regulators, as well as hundreds of class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of angry vehicle owners. The Justice Department is also conducting a criminal investigation.

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