VW Moving Beyond Diesel Cheating Scandal
The world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen AG, “is back on track” even as it works through its global diesel scandal, its CEO said. And he isn't ruling out talking about a merger with FCA.
Speaking through an interpreter at the automaker’s annual press conference in Wolfsburg, Matthias Mueller said that despite a global diesel crisis, “2016 did not turn out to be the nightmare that many predicted” for VW, Automotive News Europe reported Wednesday.
To move forward, though, VW “must become more international, more entrepreneurial and more female -- especially at the management level.”
Mueller has been CEO since shortly after the diesel crisis broke in September 2015. He pledged VW’s continued cooperation with authorities around the globe investigating the company’s nearly decade-long effort to cheat on emissions tests with so-called defeat devices.
On Friday, VW pleaded guilty to three felonies in a US District Court in Detroit. In court, US prosecutors credited the company for cooperating with its investigation, including providing information to US authorities “in real time” from the company’s internal investigation.
Support For Global Trade
Mueller said working through the diesel crisis continues to be the company’s top priority. He said VW globally was modifying about 200,000 customer vehicles per week, and had now modified 4 million vehicles worldwide, including 1.5 million in Germany. Mueller said the company’s goal is to complete modifications for the diesel scandal by this fall.
During questioning from reporters, Mueller said VW supports global free trade, and will continue to operate under free-trade deals in effect, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“We support free trade and open markets. This is really necessary. VW plans to harmonize rules around the world. In a global market, it doesn’t make sense for each market to have its own rules and regulations,” the CEO said.
In terms of future products, Mueller said the automaker remains committed to its post-scandal electrification and mobility strategy, despite how slowly electric vehicles sell in relation to those powered by gasoline and diesel engines.
Mueller said VW will continue to pursue advances in internal combustion engine technologies, even as it pursues further development of EVs.
“It’s a fact of life that we have to address electro-mobility,” Mueller said. “It’s our task now to make sure this is going to happen.”