Matthias Müller

A Friend at the Top

vw titel image 28 sept source
Montage: U. Deck / DPA and VW illustration by Jean Pascal Zahl
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Volkswagen faces the worst crisis in its 78-year history and needs reform-minded leadership to restore trust in its tarnished brand.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Volkswagen used Bosch software to cheat on emissions tests. Bosch warned Volkswagen in 2007 against using its software illegally.
    • New Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said on Friday that the investigation into the emissions scandal would go back to 2005.
    • Volkswagen has hired U.S. law firm Jones Day to conduct the investigation into the emissions scandal.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

He knew nothing about the emissions scandal. Volkswagen’s supervisory board claims it made sure of that before appointing Matthias Müller chief executive. He does appear to have an alibi.

For the past five years, Mr. Müller served as head of Volkswagen’s Porsche brand, which hasn’t been touched by the scandal. U.S. authorities allege Volkswagen began cheating on emissions tests in 2009, years before Mr. Müller joined the board of directors in March 2015.

The origins of the scandal may date back even further. Volkswagen used software developed by Bosch to cheat U.S. diesel emissions tests. The parts supplier warned the automaker in 2007 against using its software illegally, Handelsblatt has confirmed through sources at Volkswagen.

At the end of his public introduction as chief executive on Friday, Mr. Müller mentioned almost in passing that the investigation would dig “back to the year of 2005.” In a joint letter with works council chief Bernd Osterloh, Mr. Müller vowed to “relentlessly” pursue the truth.

“We will do everything to win back the trust of our customers, partners, investors and the whole public little by little in the coming years,” the new chief executive said.

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