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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.

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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 Declares “The Future is Electric”

German maker reveals e-mobility plans to investors – but declines to release diesel probe.

by on May.10, 2017

VW CEO Matthias Mueller plans to triple spending on alternative powertrain technologies.

Volkswagen executives had a lot to say about their plans to bring electric and high-efficiency gas vehicles to market over the next decade, during the German automaker’s annual shareholders meeting – but they were largely mum when it came to the specifics of an extensive internal probe into the company’s cheating on diesel emissions standards.

“The future is electric,” declared Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller, during the annual meeting in Hanover, not far from the automaker’s headquarters in Wolfsburg. And VW, he added, “intend(s) to be the number one in e-mobility by 2025.

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The German automaker plans to bring out 10 electrified models by 2018, and have 30 more battery-electric models in its product portfolio by 2025, said Mueller, expanding on VW’s earlier commitment to the technology. All 12 of the company’s brands are expected to add some electrified models.

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Sales on Rebound, VW Delivers 44% Earnings Increase

CEO Mueller declines to discuss possible sale of Ducati, but says it is reviewing its brand portfolio.

by on May.03, 2017

VW's U.S. sales are on the mend and the maker hopes to build momentum with the new Atlas SUV.

There appear to be two strong signs that Volkswagen is finally leaving its diesel emissions scandal behind: rebounding sales and a surge in earnings.

Though the German automaker has yet to completely wrap up the diesel crisis – it has yet to negotiate a settlement with shareholders, for one thing – it saw first quarter earnings jump 44%, handily beating expectations. After taxes, VW is reporting a profit of 3.4 billion euros, or $3.7 billion, compared to the 3.1 billion euro forecast by industry analysts, according to data gather by FactSet.

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A variety of factors worked in VW’s favor, including stronger sales in the U.S., while “Our efforts to improve efficiency and productivity across all areas of the Company are also paying off,” said Chief Executive Matthias Mueller.

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FCA, VW, Patching up Differences, Could See Joint Opportunities

Volkswagen CEO opens door to “conversation.”

by on Mar.15, 2017

VW CEO Matthias Mueller has been struggling to dig the maker out of its diesel scandal.

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller, apparently picking up on recent comments by his counterpart at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, opened the door to “a conversation” on Tuesday, something some observers suggest could lead to merger talks between the two companies.

Mueller’s comment, which was made during a news conference called to discuss VW earnings, came barely a week after CEO Sergio Marchionne said a merger between FCA and some other manufacturer “will happen” in the coming years.

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Talk of mergers, acquisitions and alliances in the global auto industry has escalated in the wake of General Motors’ decision to sell its long-troubled German-based Opel/Vauxhall unit to France’s PSA, the parent of the Peugeot and Citroen brands.

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VW Brand Profit Slammed by Diesel Emissions Scandal Costs

U.S. remains "core market," says CEO Mueller.

by on Mar.14, 2017

VW CEO Matthias Mueller holds the wireless fob for the Sedric robotic car at the Geneva Motor Show.

Volkswagen revealed a classic good news/bad news scenario on Tuesday morning. After reporting record group profits last month for 2016, the automaker now says operating earnings at the flagship VW brand took a sharp hit as a result of the maker’s diesel emissions scandal.

The automaker has so far agreed to spend nearly $25 billion on fines and settlements in the U.S. alone as a result of the scandal, and that doesn’t include a hefty increase in marketing costs since the diesel engine rigging was revealed in September 2015.

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Nonetheless, Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller put a positive outlook on the maker’s current situation, insisting it was “back on track” after one of the worst crises in its eight-decade history. Mueller himself took home 7.8 million euros, or $8.5 million, in pay and other forms of compensation for 2016.

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Latest VW Diesel Deal Could Be Even More Costly

German maker could pay $4b, triple initial pricetag, if it can’t fix 3-liter engine.

by on Feb.01, 2017

A line-up of Audi TDI models. The automaker may have to boost its reserve to cover the diesel scandal.

The settlement covering a rigged, 3.0-liter turbodiesel could cost Volkswagen as much as $4 billion if it cannot come up with the necessary fix for nearly 60,000 vehicles whose engines were rigged to illegally pass U.S. emissions tests – at least three times more than the initial settlement calls for.

The impact of the scandal – which previously saw VW agree to pay out $14.7 billion to cover nearly 500,000 vehicles using a smaller diesel engine – continues to grow, and to spread. German mega-supplier Robert Bosch GmbH now has negotiated its own settlement, which will require it to pay $327.5 million to American owners of VW diesels.

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Meanwhile, VW’s Audi division is now examining whether it has set aside enough money to cover its share of the burden. It has already set the figure at 980 million euros, or $1.06 billion at the current exchange rate. Audi sold a number of different models in the U.S. using both the 2.0- and 3.0-liter turbodiesels.

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VW Cutting 30,000 Jobs Worldwide in Wake of Diesel Emissions Scandal

Move is part of broader changes to shift product plans, improve efficiency.

by on Nov.18, 2016

VW CEO Matthias Mueller wants to double the carmaker's profit margin and shift its product mix.

Volkswagen AG will eliminate about 30,000 jobs, the majority of them in Germany, as it struggles to cut costs in the wake of a diesel emissions scandal that some analysts estimate will eventually cost it as much as $30 billion or more.

The cuts are expected to save the embattled automaker about 3.7 billion Euros, or nearly $4 billion annually, according to VW CEO Matthias Mueller. However, the move is meant to do more than simply help cover the costs of the diesel scandal.

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The job cuts are part of “the biggest modernization program in the history of the group’s core brand,” Mueller told reporters during a news conference at VW’s corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.  “The VW brand needs a real shake-up,” he added, “and that is exactly what the future pact has turned out to be.”

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VW Back in the Black but Diesel Scandal Takes a Stiff Toll

Profits down 20% year-over-year.

by on May.31, 2016

VW gets back into the black for Q1, but the maker see lower sales and smaller margins for all of 2016.

Volkswagen AG clawed its way back into the black during the first quarter of this year following the spectacular plunge it took last year as it dealt with a global diesel emissions scandal.

Even so, the maker’s $2.6 billion profit for the January-March quarter was down 20.1% from year earlier numbers. Excluding one-time items, VW’s operating profit was down 5.9%, to $3.5 billion. Sales and other revenues, meanwhile, slipped 3.4%, to $56.8 billion.

By the Books!

“In light of the wide range of challenges we are currently facing, we are satisfied overall with the start we have made to what will undoubtedly be a demanding fiscal year 2016,” VW CEO Matthias Mueller said in a statement.

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VW Offering $1 Bil to US Diesel Owners

Reported plan would give $5,000 to each owner of rigged diesel cars.

by on Apr.20, 2016

VW could announce the compensation plan as early as this week.

Volkswagen will offer U.S. owners of vehicles with rigged diesel engines $5,000 apiece, according to a plan the embattled German automaker is reportedly preparing.

The deal, which is expected to cost VW just over $1 billion, could be disclosed as early as tomorrow when the carmaker is expected to appear before a federal judge in San Francisco. But VW is not believed to yet have a plant to fix those diesels, as it was supposed to put together by April 21st, according to reports in both the German newspaper Die Welt and on the Associated Press wire service.

Breaking News!

VW is facing more than 500 lawsuits filed on behalf of diesel owners in the wake of revelations it had equipped its vehicles with a so-called “defeat device,” software designed to detect when those cars were undergoing emissions tests and then modify engine operations to reduce levels of smog-causing oxides of nitrogen. Almost 550,000 of those vehicles were sold in the U.S., with 11 million sold worldwide.

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