Volkswagen’s chief executive officer, Matthias Müller, will be taking a pass on the North American International Auto Show this year. VW still needs to settle things with the U.S. Department of Justice, and is desperate to reach a criminal settlement before the Obama administration is replaced by Trump.
Of course, there is also the matter of public embarrassment. At the 2016 NAIAS Müller took some serious heat for telling National Public Radio that Volkswagen did not lie when initially questioned about its emission-cheating diesel vehicles. The CEO may indeed be busy overseeing the criminal settlement with the DOJ, but there has to be a little leftover humiliation from last year’s awkwardness.
“There will be no separate event of the VW group [in Detroit] and in view of this fact, the group’s executive board will not attend the show,” a spokesman from Volkswagen’s headquarters explained to Reuters.
The company is fearful that its plans in the United States could be postponed by over six months if it fails to reach a deal with the outgoing administration. The choice to keep Müller and the rest of VW’s executive board away from this year’s NAIAS may seem like the company is playing it overly safe but, with things coming down to the wire, its not entirely unexpected.
The Obama administration packs up its last belongings and ships out on January 20th.
[Image: Volkswagen Group]