Pictures: Courtesy Volkswagen
Admitting that the recent
emissions scam committed by the Volkswagen Group will lead to enormous
financial damage which “it is still not possible to quantify as of today”, the
new CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Matthias Müller, told a large gathering
of VW workers that he would provide a "swift and relentless
clarification" of the emissions scandal. He admitted that he, too, did not
yet have the answer to many questions.
Muller was speaking at a works
meeting in Wolfsburg on October 6, 2015. He said that what had happened went
against everything the Group and its people stand for and that there was no
excuse. "We can and we will overcome this crisis, because Volkswagen is a
group with a strong foundation. And above all because we have the best automobile
team anyone could wish for," he
said, assuring the workers that the company would do everything it could to
ensure that Volkswagen continues to stand for good and secure jobs in the
The recently appointed CEO of
Volkswagen Group who replaced Dr Winterkorn was speaking to more than 20,000
employees at the Wolfsburg plant. "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," he said.
"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," Müller said.
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," he said.
Nevertheless, he announced
that a project team had drawn up an action plan. Over the coming days, the
customers affected would be informed that the emissions characteristics of
their vehicles would be upgraded. Furthermore, the company has set up websites
where customers can check whether their vehicles are affected by entering the
chassis number. 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, "In many instances
a software update will be sufficient. Some vehicles, however, will also require
hardware modifications. We will keep our customers constantly informed about
the measures and arrange workshop appointments."
The Group CEO also emphasised
that all of the vehicles in question 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," he
On the other hand, Müller did
not omit mentioning that "while the technical solutions to these problems
are imminent, it is not possible to quantify the commercial and financial
implications at present." He added that the company must now respond
swiftly: "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."
However, he also gave employees reassurance: "We will do everything we can
to ensure that Volkswagen continues to stand for good and secure jobs in the
Müller added: "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 economise on the future.
That is something else we will also be addressing over the coming weeks and
Müller pointed out that not
all the facts were on the table yet. One conclusion, however, was already
clear: "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."
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