If any German car executive feels like he has a bulls-eye on his back, it’s Rupert Stadler, the controversial CEO of luxury automaker Audi. The tabloid newspaper Bild even reported last week that Mr. Stadler would be replaced in March, a story that parent company Volkswagen felt obliged to quickly deny.
Mr. Stadler’s vulnerability stems from his firm’s deep involvement in the so-called diesel scandal in which Volkswagen and its subsidiaries, Audi and Porsche, were caught red-handed in the United States in 2015 with software that allowed diesel cars to pass emissions tests but then produced heavy pollution once the cars were on the road.
Despite the diesel scandal now widening in Germany, Mr. Stadler said in an interview with Handelsblatt that he continues to have the backing of VW management. “I feel the support very clearly,” he said. “It cannot be prevented that speculation arises again and again.”