Friday 25 September 2015

Porsche man is new head of Volkswagen

 Matthias Müller (62) is the new chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG with immediate effect.

The decision was made by the supervisory board at its meeting in Wolfsburg today. Müller is currently chairman of Porsche AG in Stuttgart. He will continue in this function until a successor is found.

Berthold Huber, interim chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen AG, added: “Matthias Müller is a person of great strategic, entrepreneurial and social competence. He knows the Group and its brands well and can immediately engage in his new task with full energy. We expressly value his critical and constructive approach.”

Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the group’s works council, commented: “When it comes to leadership appointments the Volkswagen Group does not need hasty decisions. We know and value Matthias Müller for his determination and decisiveness. He does not work on his own, rather he is a team player. That is what Volkswagen needs now.”

Müller said: “My most urgent task is to win back trust for the Volkswagen Group – by leaving no stone unturned and with maximum transparency, as well as drawing the right conclusions from the current situation.”

“Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry. If we manage to achieve that then the Volkswagen Group with its innovative strength, its strong brands and above all its competent and highly motivated team has the opportunity to emerge from this crisis stronger than before,” he declared.

Müller, born in Chemnitz, Saxony, on 9 June 1953, completed his high school education in Ingolstadt followed by an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Audi AG. He then studied computer science at Munich University of Applied Sciences.

After obtaining his master’s degree in computer science, Müller resumed his career with Audi in Ingolstadt in 1978, becoming head of the systems analysis division in 1984 and head of Audi A3 project management in 1993. He assumed responsibility for product management at Audi AG, SEAT and Lamborghini in 1995.

Müller moved to Wolfsburg as head of product management of the Volkswagen Group and the Volkswagen brand in 2007 and also became a general representative of the Volkswagen Group. He has been chairman of the executive board of Dr.Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and a member of the executive board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE since 2010.

In his function as chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG, Müller was appointed member of the board of management of Volkswagen AG effective March 1, 2015.

Müller’s current contract as a board member of Volkswagen AG continues to apply in his new function as CEO. This contract runs until the end of February 2020.

                                                    Doing all we can

Prior to Müller’s appointment, and in an earlier press release (dated September 22, 2015) the Volkswagen Group announced that Volkswagen Group vehicles worldwide are affected by the current issues regarding emissions.

The internal evaluation revealed that approximately five million Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand vehicles are affected worldwide. Certain models and model years of these vehicles (such as the sixth generation Volkswagen Golf, the seventh generation Volkswagen Passat and the first generation Volkswagen Tiguan) are equipped exclusively with type EA 189 diesel engines.

As previously announced, all new Volkswagen Passenger Car brand vehicles that fulfil the EU6 norm valid throughout Europe are not affected. This therefore also includes the current Golf, Passat and Touran models.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand stressed: “We are working at full speed on a technical solution that we will present to partners, to our customers and to the public as swiftly as possible. Our aim is to inform our customers as quickly as possible, so that their vehicles comply fully with regulations. I assure you that Volkswagen will do everything humanly possible to win back the trust of our customers, the dealerships and the public.”

The Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand intends to inform all markets worldwide how many of vehicles are affected locally.

“We are working intensively on remedial measures in close coordination with the certification authorities. The vehicles are and remain technically safe and roadworthy,” the company s

COMMENT. It is likely that VW will have to mount a major recall programme on one or both sides of the Atlantic to have ECUs reprogrammed, chips replaced or engine management systems remapped.

The question then arises as to what VW tell the motorist (or maybe the Transporter/Caddy van user) about the reason for the recall.

We know it is to clean up and resolve NOx emissions problems, but VW is surely duty bound to make clear that the modification will inevitably damage fuel consumption?

If so, how many owners will willingly bring their vehicles into dealers for the modifications to be carried out?  After all, this is not a safety issue in the usual sense of a recall. This takes us into the possibility of a whole new set of legislation updating (at least in the UK) Ministry of Transport MoT test procedures which, in any case, will not catch non-modified VW group diesel vehicles until they are three years old.

Government-empowered roadside spot-checkers might need to be equipped with a plug-in diagnostic device to identify non-modified ECUs. It is a practical can of worms, never mind VW’s share price.

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