Cultural Revolution

Reengineering Volkswagen

VW Jens Wolf DPA
The VW crisis grows by the day. Here, company headquarters in Wolfsburg.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • As VW’s emissions-rigging scandal takes on ever-greater proportions, CEO Matthias Müller wants to change the culture that allowed Dieselgate to happen. But it remains to be seen whether he himself is too much a part of the problem to do so.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Müller is turning to a combination of symbolic gestures and invasive actions in his bid to reinvent the company.
    • The design team alone, which consumes around €100 million annually, is set for a significant haircut, sources said.
    • Mr. Müller’s “Strategy 2025,“ planned for completion in July, will provide details on the company’s restructuring.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

 

As workers pour out of brick assembly halls at Volkswagen’s main factory in Wolfsburg en route to a nearby train station, much more than a mere change of shifts is in the air.

“Our cars are good,” said one employee in passing. The pride is still there, but uncertainty is growing about the future of the scandal-ridden automaker.

As VW’s emissions-rigging machinations take on ever-greater proportions, the company faces perhaps the most daunting existential crisis in its 78-year history.

In addition to slashing costs to pay for mounting fines – already estimated in the tens of billions of euros – the world’s largest automaker must completely reengineer the corporate culture from which this scandal emerged.

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