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Diesel Crisis May Have Been Just What VW Needed, Suggests US CEO

"The race is on," says Woebcken.

by on Feb.09, 2018

VW's U.S. chief Hinrich Woebcken told the Economic Club of Chicago that the company needed to "Americanize" to be successful.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so goes the old saw. And it just might apply to Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, suggested the automaker’s North American chief executive, despite costing the automaker about $30 billion in penalties.

During a series of appearances at the Chicago Auto Show, Hinrich Woebcken noted that after taking an initial, sharp hit to its sales after admitting it rigged more than 500,000 diesel vehicles sold in the U.S., VW’s sales rebounded in 2017, climbing 5% even as the overall American car market fell nearly 2%.

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“Maybe the diesel crisis helped convince (our) company to Americanize,” said Woebcken, during a speech to the Chicago Economic Club. Long known to American car buyers as “a sports car brand … a niche company,” VW recognized that, if it was going to recover, it had to “move into the heart of the American market.” (more…)