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Mueller Out, Diess In at VW – And More Shake-Ups Likely

Automaker restructuring into three groups and may be readying spin-off of truck group.

by on Apr.12, 2018

New VW CEO Herbert Diess unveiled two EVs, including the Buzz microbus, at CEO.

Matthias Mueller, the executive often given credit with steering Volkswagen Group through the worst crisis in its post-War history, has been pushed aside, replaced as CEO by Herbert Diess, the head of the flagship VW brand.

The elevation of Diess comes at a time when Volkswagen is charting a path that calls for greater sales and profits, lower costs, and a decreasing dependence on the diesels that had been a foundation, albeit a troubled one, for the company. Diess will also oversee a restructuring that will reform the parent company into three groups and could lead to the eventually spin-off of its truck and bus division.

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Shaking Things Up!

The 64-year-old Mueller was elevated to CEO in 2015, following revelations that VW had rigged its diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests. He “has done outstanding work for the Volkswagen Group,” the automakers said in a statement, work that included dealing with angry regulators, shareholders and owners and negotiating settlements, fines and buybacks that ultimately are expected to cost VW about $30 billion in the U.S. alone.

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Volkswagen CEO Mueller Likely to Be Replaced by VW Brand Boss Diess

Mueller helped company weather diesel scandal, but Diess seen as change agent.

by on Apr.11, 2018

Prior to being tapped to head VW after its diesel scandal broke, Matthias Mueller ran Porsche.

Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller is expected to be forced out at a management meeting Friday, with VW brand boss Herbert Diess expected to replace him, according to reports out of Germany.

The shake-up, which has apparently been in the works for months, has the blessing of some of VW’s top shareholders, as well as its chairman and powerful labor chief. It will mark the most extensive management moves since shortly after the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal broke in September 2015.

Global Business News!

VW issued a short statement noting it is considering “a further development of the management structure of the group which would also be associated with personnel changes in the board of management.” The statement hinted that changes under study “could include” the naming of a new CEO, adding that Mueller himself “showed his willingness to contribute,” suggesting the 64-year-old executive might voluntarily step aside rather than fight to retain his post. He is currently under a contract set to continue through 2020.

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VW Planning 10-Year Comeback for the U.S.

Strategy includes -- what else -- more SUVs.

by on Sep.01, 2017

VW CEO Herbert Diess and former US chief Michael Horn at the unveiling of the new Tiguan.

Nearly two years after Volkswagen admitted rigging the diesel engines on 11 million vehicles to illegally pass emissions tests, top company officials have laid out a series of steps they hope will help rebuild both trust and demand in markets around the world, notably in the U.S., where the diesel scam cover-up first was revealed.

Special discounts of up to $9,000 will be offered to get current diesel owners in Europe to trade back in on another VW model, while the German automaker said it will expand its array of SUVs coming to the ute-crazed American market, senior officials said, following a VW board meeting at the company’s plant in Chattanooga, TN.

Breaking News!

“The brand suffered a lot worldwide, we are suffering still. And for sure we are not through,” Herbert Diess, VW’s global brand boss said, adding that, “We can’t win America over in two years time. It’s a 10-year plan.”

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Former VW CEO Under Increasing Scrutiny

Prosecutors asking what Winterkorn knew and when.

by on Jan.27, 2017

Ousted VW CEO Martin Winterkorn during a presentation at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, ousted following the revelation of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions rigging, may have known about the subterfuge far earlier than he has so far acknowledged, according to German prosecutors.

If that proves true, the life-long VW executive could face potential criminal charges on both sides of the Atlantic. After announcing a $4.3 billion settlement of a criminal investigation of the automaker earlier this month – a deal that was accompanied by six criminal indictments — U.S. Justice Department officials said they might yet bring charges against other VW employees.

In the Know!

The German investigation further challenges claims by the automaker that only a “handful” of low-level engineers knew about the plan to use rigged software to help VW’s diesel engines pass tight U.S. emissions standards.

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VW Teases New Premium Fastback for U.S., Global Markets

Due for Geneva debut, four-door could fill niche left open by Phaeton.

by on Nov.28, 2016

VW plans to top its sedan line-up with the new Arteon fastback due to market for 2018.

Determined to rebuild in the wake of its costly diesel emissions scandal – especially in the critical U.S. market – Volkswagen is offering a teaser image of the “premium fastback” model it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show three months from now.

To be called the Volkswagen Arteon, it will be “positioned above” the brand’s largest current model, the Passat, and potentially fill an upscale niche abandoned when the VW Phaeton was pulled from production. But the Arteon is not expected to go quite as far upmarket as that big sedan, which made pretenses of targeting the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7-Series and even sibling brand Audi’s A8.

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The Arteon “emphasizes emotionality in the upper mid-class,” says a statement from VW accompanying the teaser image. “The four-door fastback impresses both through revolutionary design and great practical value in use.” The statement concludes that “This combination is unique.”

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VW May Have to Buy Back Over 100,000 U.S. Diesel Cars

Emissions fix for others could be complex, costly, slow.

by on Jan.07, 2016

VW brand boss Herbert Diess again apologized for the diesel scandal on Tuesday in Las Vegas.

Increasingly desperate to find an acceptable fix for the diesel emissions scandal impacting about 500,000 vehicles sold in the United States, Volkswagen may be forced to buy back more than 100,000 of those cars, according to a news report from Germany.

Many of the others might face extensive mechanical updates that would be complex, costly and slow to complete, according to a report in the Sueddeustsche Zeitung. But Herbert Diess, the CEO of the Volkswagen brand told TheDetroitBureau.com this week that some of the most recent models might require only a “fix with the software.”

Insight!

One way or the other, “Our most important task in 2016 is to solve the diesel issue in the U.S.,” said the executive, following a keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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VW Boss Says He’s Focused on Fix, Not Cost, of Diesel Scandal

“Most important task” is solving diesel problem in U.S. says brand CEO Diess.

by on Jan.06, 2016

VW Brand Boss Herbert Diess offers a mea culpa during a keynote speech at CES.

A day after his company was sued by the U.S. Department of Justice, Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess told an audience at the Consumer Electronics Show that “Our most important task in 2016 is to solve the diesel issue in the U.S.”

The federal suit follows revelations that the German maker had cheated on emissions tests involving both its 2.0 and 3.0-liter diesel engines, a problem that could result in more than $20 billion in fines. Government officials said they were frustrated by the slow process of finding a fix for the problem.

Keeping the Record Straight!

But Diess told reporters attending a preview of several battery-powered concept vehicles that “I assure you we are doing everything we can to make things right.” The executive added that he “is confident we will win their approval (for a fix) in the coming weeks and months.”

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Volkswagen Drops $1.83 Bil into the Red for Q3

Senior exec apologizes for diesel emissions scandal during Tokyo Motor Show news conference.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The real battle for world dominance will be in China where VW is firmly entrenched.

VW only began to feel the impact of its diesel scandal during the third quarter.

Only starting to feel the financial pain from its diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen AG reported a $1.83 billion third-quarter loss on Wednesday.

The German maker also announced that it saw a 1.5% year-over-year decline in vehicle sales for the first nine months of 2015, to 7,430,794. VW surged to first place in the global sales race during the first half of the year, but it has now slipped back into second, losing its lead to Toyota Motor Co.

In the Know!

Third-quarter sales and earnings were only partially impacted by the revelation that VW had cheated on diesel emissions tests by installing special software in 11 million vehicles sold worldwide – including 482,000 in the U.S. During an appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show earlier on Wednesday, a senior VW official bowed an issued an apology.

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VW Planning Complete Diesel Engine Remake

Change coming “as soon as possible.”

by on Oct.13, 2015

Former BMW executive Herbert Diess took over as Volkswagen brand boss on July 1st.

Volkswagen plans a complete makeover of its diesel technology in the wake of reports it cheated on emissions tests. The new versions of its high-mileage engines should go into production “as soon as possible” according to VW brand chief Herbert Diess.

The maker’s current 2.0-liter diesel was surreptitiously programmed to produce low levels of smog-causing NOx during emissions tests, but in a trade-off apparently meant to improve performance and mileage, those TDI engines were allowed to produce significantly higher levels of pollutants in real-world use. VW has confirmed it used the so-called “defeat device” technology in 11 million vehicles sold worldwide over the past seven years, including 482,000 purchased in the U.S.

News You Can Trust!

Even as VW moves ahead on developing a new version of its small EA 189 diesel engine, the maker will cut about $1.1 billion in annual investment spending, Diess confirmed. VW has so far set aside $7.3 billion to cover the cost of the scandal, but many analysts believe that figure is far too low.

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After Management Shake-Up, New VW Brand Boss Lays Out His Plans

Steady as she goes, says former BMW exec Herbert Diess.

by on Jul.10, 2015

Former BMW exec Herbert Diess took over as VW brand boss on July 1st.

After a bruising internal fight for control of the company, Volkswagen management is putting on a show of solidarity, hoping to calm internal jitters and, it would seem, skeptical analysts and investors.

The once-powerful Chairman Ferdinand Piech was pushed to resign in April in a dispute with his likely successor, CEO Martin Winterkorn. In turn, the chief executive is putting in place a major realignment that will effectively divide VW AG into a series of near-autonomous holding companies.

Management News!

The biggest will be run by Herbert Diess whom Winterkorn personally poached from rival BMW. In a Q&A published on the company’s internal website, Winterkorn and Diess outlined their plans for the future.

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