Andreas Renschler, formerly of Daimler trucks, became the head of Volkswagen’s truck division in February. His overarching task is to integrate MAN, Scania and VW brands. Mr. Renschler recently traveled to a German-Brazilian business congress in the southern Brazilian city of Joinville. It was his first official trip as the new chairman of the Confederation of German Industry’s (BDI) Latin America committee. Mr. Renschler was far away from VW’s headquarters when the diesel scandal broke, but he still heard about it in Brazil.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Renschler, what do you have to say about VW’s faked diesel emissions tests?
Andreas Renschler: We have said we will clear up this affair quickly and completely. But you’ll understand that I can’t say anything more about it.
Latin America is also stuck in a serious crisis. Can you tell companies with a good conscience to enter the region?
Very clearly yes. If it’s the right market strategically, then you won’t be put off by a crisis. I don’t know any German company that has come to Brazil only because of the boom in recent years. They were all already there and have seen ups and downs over the past decades. Experience shows that after a Brazilian miracle comes another Brazilian miracle. That’s also the view of the BDI’s Latin American committee, by the way. We are all convinced of the potential for German industry in this region.
Eon and ThyssenKrupp have burned billions in South America in recent years.
You’ll have to ask those firms if they did something wrong. It’s not always the economy’s fault when something goes wrong. We have proven that you can make money here. The automobile industry came to Brazil in the ’50s. More than 60 years later we’re still here – and that shows that endurance pays off.
But recent years haven’t been great for the truck market in South America for you.
One of the biggest challenges is to export to other countries; that way local market fluctuations can be better balanced out.
How do you plan to bring the brands MAN, Scania and Volkswagen closer together?
We are working on that at full speed. Our top priority is to use the joint potential of the three brands. We want them to willingly work together, and for it to be fun and not forced. We have now started to cooperate more closely at different levels.