Dieselgate Scandal

In Las Vegas, VW Gambles on a Rebrand

diess in vegas_bloomberg
Volkswagen Passenger Cars CEO Herbert Diess speaks at CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, in Las Vegas this month.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    VW’s hopes that it could mark a new beginning in the U.S. at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show and the Detroit Motor Show to overcome its Dieselgate scandal.

  • Facts


    • VW brand chief Herbert Diess and Chief Executive Matthias Müller are venturing to the United States for presentations at key trade shows and talks with officials.
    • Prosecutors in the U.S. filed a civil lawsuit this week alleging that VW knowingly installed so-called defeat devices in almost 600,000 of its diesel cars in the United States.
    • The prosecutors are theoretically demanding up to $48 billion in fines, much higher than the $18 billion initially estimated.
  • Audio


  • Pdf

If you’re chosen to give the opening speech at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, you’re part of a very select group of people. VW spent months of networking to ensure that one of its executives got that honor, according to sources at the company.

Last summer, Martin Winterkorn, the then chief executive, finally got the OK to enter the date in his diary. By September, the diesel scandal had cost him his job, but that didn’t matter. The VW speech would go on.

One might think that Mr. Winterkorn’s successor, Matthias Müller, would step up to the lectern himself. Instead he chose to send the head of the core VW brand, Herbert Diess. Until half a year ago, Mr. Winterkorn held both positions — that of chief executive of the VW group and head of the VW brand.

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.