New VW Group CEO: “swift and relentless clarification” of emissions scandal; technical solution to be presented to authorities
Speaking at a plant meeting in Wolfsburg, Matthias Müller, the new CEO of Volkswagen AG, promised employees “swift and relentless clarification” of the emissions scandal. He said that what had happened went against everything the Group and its people stand for and that there was no excuse.
Müller said that the company will shortly be presenting the technical solutions to the responsible authorities—in particular the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA)—for approval. Müller said that while in many instances a software update will be sufficient, some vehicles will also require hardware modifications. “We will keep our customers constantly informed about the measures and arrange workshop appointments.”
Apart from the enormous financial damage which it is still not possible to quantify as of today, this crisis is first and foremost a crisis of confidence. That is because it is about the very core of our company and our identity: it is about our vehicles. Our most important task will therefore be to win back the trust we have lost—with our customers, partners, investors and the general public. Only when everything has been put on the table, when no single stone has been left unturned, only then will people begin to trust us again.—Matthia Müller
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The CEO asked employees for their understanding, saying that he, too, did not yet have the answer to many questions: “Believe me, like you, I am impatient. But in this situation, where we are dealing with four brands and many model variants, care is even more important than speed.”
The Group CEO also emphasized that all of the affected vehicles are technically safe and roadworthy: “At no time was the safety of our customers compromised. And above all: all EU6 diesel vehicles comply with legal specifications and environmental requirements. For Wolfsburg, that means production can continue.”
However, Müller noted, although the technical solutions to the affair are imminent, it was not yet possible to quantify the commercial and financial implications.
That is why we have initiated a further critical review of all planned investments. Anything that is not absolutely necessary will be cancelled or postponed. And it is why we will be intensifying the efficiency program. To be perfectly frank: this will not be a painless process. We will do everything we can to ensure that Volkswagen continues to stand for good and secure jobs in the future.
At the IAA we demonstrated that the Volkswagen Group is well positioned when it comes to the key technologies of the future. We cannot afford to jeopardize this strong position now. We must make massive savings to manage the consequences of this crisis. At the same time, though, we cannot afford to economize on the future. That is something else we will also be addressing over the coming weeks and months.
Volkswagen must once again stand for more integrity. Not just on paper. But anytime, anywhere. We will make every effort to make very sure that the rules are respected by everyone. This Group and its brands stand for sustainability, for responsibility, for credibility. At the moment, much of that seems to have been deeply shaken. But: together with you, I am determined to prove that our values remain our guide. And that Volkswagen, that each one of us, deserves the trust of people everywhere.—Matthias Müller