Malcolm Graham
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Volkswagen has plunged 50%. Will it ever recover?

Can Volkswagen survive the diesel emissions cheating scandal? Probably. Will its stock ever get back to where it was before? That's another story.

Shares of Volkswagen have plunged nearly 30% since the news of the automaker's Clean Air Act violations first surfaced last Friday. The stock is now more than 50% below the 52-week high that it hit in March.

The departure of CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday is helping VW in the short-term. The stock has rebounded from the 52-week low it hit Tuesday.

But one brand reputation expert said that VW has to act quickly to find new leadership.

"This is a mess. The CEO's resignation makes it more of a mess because it's a rudderless ship," said Richard Torrenzano, CEO of the Torrenzano Group, a firm specializing in crisis management for corporations.

It's important to remember that Volkswagen was already in trouble before the term "defeat device" started trending on Google and social media.