Handelsblatt Interview

Steering the VW Tanker

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    VW needs to get a grip on Dieselgate and prepare itself for electric cars and self-driving technologies or it risks losing market share in the long run.

  • Facts


    • In September 2015, VW admitted to the manipulation of 11 million diesel cars globally.
    • The cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide gases than laws allow.
    • The company and some of its former and current executives face criminal investigation of violating shareholder disclosure laws, including CEO Matthias Müller.
  • Audio


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main 81865093 source Christian Burkert for Handelsblatt – VW Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller spoke with Handelsblatt about the latest developments in Volkswagen's Dieselgate sage. Source: Christian Burkert for Handelsblatt

Dieselgate, the world’s largest violation of emissions values so far, dates back to September 2015 but still weighs heavily on VW.

Prosecutors confirmed Wednesday they are investigating Chief Executive Matthias Müller, non-executive Chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch and former CEO Martin Winterkorn for possible market manipulation.

In a joint interview with VW board member Andreas Renschler, head of VW’s truck operations, Mr. Müller rejected the prosecutors’ allegations. “We are sure we properly and responsibly fulfilled all obligations to publicly disclose information in accordance with capital market laws,” he told Handelsblatt.

Beyond the probe, both executives are still hard at work to clear VW of the effects of the emissions scandal, which involved 11 million cars globally and has so far cost €21.6 billion ($24.1 billion) in expected repairs, buybacks, fines and legal costs.

Mr. Müller, who replaced Mr. Winterkorn after Dieselgate became public, said the fraud helped VW to change its culture and get ready for a future of electric and self-driving cars. “Without the crisis, many things would certainly have gone on the same way for a while. We wouldn’t have realigned the company as thoroughly, though that was much needed, to be ready for the new world of mobility, and we would have lost valuable time,” he said.

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