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New chief articulates VW makeover plan

Updated on: Oct 08, 2015
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Automaker begins slow climb back to normalcy

Matthias Müller, the new Chief Executive Officer of the Volkswagen Group, has his work cut out in the coming months as he begins a huge cleanup exercise.

Yet he remains optimistic, if his words to his employees at the Wolfsburg plant, published on the company’s website, are anything to go by. "We can, and will, overcome this crisis, because VW is a group with a strong foundation,” said Müller.

There is, however, no wishing away the fact that the emissions scam has been a huge blow to the VW brand, now struggling to get back on track. “Apart from the enormous financial damage, this is a crisis of confidence which is about the very core of our company and our identity: it is about our vehicles," he added.

The top priority now is to regain the trust lost with VW’s customers, partners, investors and the general public. Müller believes the first step toward achieving that is swift and relentless clarification.

"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," he reiterated.Müller 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.

As part of an action plan, customers affected will have the emissions characteristics of their vehicles upgraded in the coming weeks. VW has set up websites where they can check if their vehicles are affected by entering the chassis number.

The company will shortly be presenting the technical solutions to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority for approval.

"In many instances a software update will be sufficient. Some vehicles, however, will also require hardware modifications,” said Müller.

From his viewpoint, the most important message is that all the vehicles in question are technically safe and roadworthy. As a result of the huge penalties that are in store, VW will need to review all new investments.

“Anything that is not absolutely necessary will be cancelled or postponed, and that is why we will be intensifying the efficiency programme,” cautioned Müller, while hinting that it would not be a “painless process"; even while VW would look to ensure “secure jobs” in the future.

“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," said the CEO.

Published on January 22, 2018

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