The Truth About Cars » martin winterkorn http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 21 Jul 2014 02:55:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » martin winterkorn http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Piech Will Remain VW Group Chairman Until “At Least” 2017, Winterkorn Not Troubled By Recent Departures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/piech-will-remain-vw-group-chairman-until-at-least-2017-winterkorn-not-troubled-by-recent-departures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/piech-will-remain-vw-group-chairman-until-at-least-2017-winterkorn-not-troubled-by-recent-departures/#comments Thu, 12 Sep 2013 14:47:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=516881

Click here to view the embedded video.

Ferdinand Piech, chairman of the Volkswagen Group, repeated his denial of a report last week in the German Handelsblatt newspaper that he would step down for health reasons in the next few months and be replaced by VW CEO Martin Winterkorn. Piech furthermore said that he will at least serve out the full term of his current contract, which runs into 2017, leaving open the possibility that he will continue to run the Volkswagen empire even longer. “I will stay for at least as long as my contract runs,” Piech told reporters at the Frankfurt Motor Show, “I’m feeling good.”

For his part, Winterkorn dismissed concerns that the recent departure of a number of top VW Group executives would leave the company without a suitable replacement for himself once Piech does retire and Winterkorn, as expected, takes the top position at VW.

The two men are said to be close confidantes and they have worked together to guide VW’s global expansion, bringing the company considerable financial success in recent years. Karl-Thomas Neumann, who used to run VW’s China operations, is now running Opel for GM, former Audi sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer is now working for BMW running MINI, Rolls-Royce and BMWmotorrad, and Audi’s former R&D head Wolfgang Duerheimer just left the VW Group after turning down an offer to take his old job back as Bentley CEO.

“There are enough young people up and coming,” Winterkorn, 66, said.

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Amid Slowing Sales, Winterkorn Promises Crossover For VW Dealers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/amid-slowing-sales-winterkorn-promises-crossover-for-vw-dealers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/amid-slowing-sales-winterkorn-promises-crossover-for-vw-dealers/#comments Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:21:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494905 CrossBlue-Concept-01-Picture-courtesy-Bertel-Schmitt-450x300

Volkswagen is having a bit of a tough year in America. As of June 1st, inventory for the brand stood at 105 days supply (third highest in the industry, behind Cadillac and Lincoln). 500 workers have been laid off  from the Chattanooga assembly line due to slow sales of the Passat, while VW is offering 0 percent APR across the board. What VW lacks, according to dealers, is a mid-size crossover, something bigger than the Tiguan but less expensive than the Touraeg.

Automotive News reports that VW CEO Martin Winterkorn spoke to dealers at a meeting in the Washington, D.C. area, essentially promising them such a vehicle. Appearing with Winterkorn were the CrossBlue concept and the CrossBlue Coupe concept, two vehicles that are said to preview such a crossover.

As it stands, the big debate is over whether to build such a vehicle in Chattanooga, or in Mexico. Building it in Chattanooga would likely mean that those laid off workers would see the return of their jobs. But IG Metall, one of Germany’s biggest labor unions, and a big player on VW’s supervisory board, won’t approve plans for the new vehicle to be built in Tennessee unless workers are allowed to organize there.

There’s a lot at stake here. VW wants a product like this to be built at a factory of its choosing. IG Metall fears that a non-union shop will undermine other unionized VW factories in Europe. The UAW badly needs to organize a foreign plant in the South. Tennessee wants to uphold its reputation as a “right to work” state this is friendlier to business rather than organized labor. All this over a vehicle that many people reading this will immediately dismiss as just another boring crossover. Gotta love the auto industry.

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Martin Winterkorn Less Impressed By New (European) Honda Civic http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/martin-winterkorn-less-impressed-by-new-european-honda-civic/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/10/martin-winterkorn-less-impressed-by-new-european-honda-civic/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2011 17:37:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=413872

Remember the video of Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn testing the quality of the new Hyundai i30? Thanks to Autobild, we’ve found a companion video from the Frankfurt Show, in which Winterkorn, along with VW Chairman Ferdinand Piech, gives the once-over to the new European-market Honda Civic. According to Autobild, Piech kept his nickname “Fugen-Ferdi” (Gap-Ferdi) relevant by checking the new Civic’s panel gaps. And, in contrast to the Hyundai video, the intelligible portions of Winterkorn’s commentary were less than entirely complimentary. The German magazine reports

A member of the VW entourage says that “(Honda) has had good role models.” But the big boss played down the praise for VW with a smile, and responded generously “they were once a role model for us.”

Note the use of the past tense, then contrast with Winterkorn’s reaction to the Hyundai. In just two videos you can see the balance of automotive power shifting…

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Winterkorn: No 13th Brand For VW http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/winterkorn-no-13th-brand-for-vw/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/winterkorn-no-13th-brand-for-vw/#comments Sat, 19 Dec 2009 18:05:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339701 Winterkorn, sending the wrong signals. Picture courtesy focus.de

VW CEO  Martin Winterkorn is a superstitious man. He doesn’t want to add a 13th brand to his (or rather Piech’s) large collection. (Coincidentally, 12 is the number of Piech’s children. More or less. Nobody is quite sure,) “There are some who knock on our door. Some really want to come under our roof as they see we’re on a good path strategically. But we are satisfied with the current line-up,” Winterkorn said to Wirtschaftswoche.  Specifically questioned about Volvo or (gasp) Daimler, Winterkorn answered: „There are many who would like to snuggle in VW’s cozy bed. Thank you, not interested.”  Instead, he’s re-thinking the line-up of his new acquisitions:  “I could imagine a smaller Cayenne derivative. Or a Porsche below the Boxster. This is under discussion.”

As far as synergies with Suzuki go, Winterkorn sees the usual savings when buying parts. (Suppliers, beware the feared Volkswagen-Einkauf.) He can also imagine Kei cars “on the roads of Paris, London, or Bangkok.” What he doesn’t see at all is the rumored Nano-swatter, built by VW & Suzuki: “A Nano is taboo for us. We will never stoop down to a level of a Nano. We have certain standards, for instance when it comes to safety. Suzuki won’t do that either.” Never say never: A low-priced entry model for emerging markets is thinkable for Winterkorn.

Suzuki dealers could also sell VWs. But strictly within the boundaries of racial separation, called Markentrennung at VW: “They have to do that in separate showrooms.”

Winterkorn is looking forward to 2010. He sees a higher market share for VW, especially in the B(R)IC countries. He’s up on the electrification of the car, someday. He’s decidedly down on hydrogen. Reminded that Daimler wants to sell a hydrogen car at the price of a common hybrid by 2015, Winterkorn sneered: “They also had announced production-ready hydrogen cars for 2004.” He doesn’t believe that hydrogen can be made in an environment-friendly way, and he can’t imagine a hydrogen gas station at every corner.

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Porsche To Magna: Take The Money And Run http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/porsche-to-magna-take-the-money-and-run/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/12/porsche-to-magna-take-the-money-and-run/#comments Sat, 19 Dec 2009 09:13:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=339681 Eat my dust. Picture courtesy carsspyphotos.com

Last year, Porsche gave Magna an eight-year contract to build the Cayman and Boxster models from 2012 on. Then Porsche went to Volkswagen. Then Opel came. VW was miffed and said “us or Opel.” When Magna’s Opel deal went poof, VW said Magna can come home, all is forgiven. Apparently not quite. Volkswagen (or Porsche, hard to say these days…)  want to use the factories of bankrupt Karmann which Volkswagen had bought and cancelled the contract. Magna cried foul and wanted money.

Now, the matter is official, writes Automobilwoche [sub].

Porsche has officially dissolved the outsourcing contract with Magna, Boxster and Cayman will be built somewhere else, most likely in the former Karmann works in Osnabrück.

And Magna? Magna received a nice, but unspecified chunk of money for their troubles from magnanimous Porsche. (Or Volkswagen.)  VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, who is also head of Porsche now, said: “You can believe me, Magna is very happy with the solution. They have been compensated for their work.”  Come 2012, your Boxster or Cayman will not be made in Austria, but in scenic Osnabrück, birth place of the Karmann Ghia.

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