Volkswagen’s American operation is looking for a new leader.
Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, stepped down effective immediately on March 9.
The company stated that Horn departed in mutual agreement with the company, and will be pursuing other opportunities.
A lawyer for Volkswagen said in court that the automaker would buy back cars that it can’t fix in time, the first admission from the company that some of its cars may not be fixable, according to the New York Times.
Volkswagen lawyer Robert Giuffra told a court last week during hearings related to the class-action lawsuits facing the automaker that the company hadn’t determined how many cars would be affected.
“We might have to do a buyback or some sort of a solution like that for some subset of the vehicles, but that hasn’t been determined yet,” Giuffra said according to the report. (Read More…)
Former BMW Group chassis manager Hinrich Woebcken will head Volkswagen in North America, the automaker announced Tuesday. Woebcken will take over April 1.
Woebcken takes over the position from former Skoda chief Winfried Vahland, who was tabbed for the new position last year, but resigned three weeks later.
Volkswagen of America President and CEO Michael Horn will report to Woebcken, according to a statement from the automaker, but it’s unclear what Horn’s duties will be under the new North American chief. (Read More…)
Weeks after European Audi owners could look to see if their cars were affected by the Volkswagen cheating scandal, Volkswagen of America added a VIN lookup to its diesel scandal site (which is buried by Google) for U.S. owners, Auto Guide reported.
The service redirects to Volkswagen’s recall site, where owners can enter their vehicle’s VIN. During congressional testimony Oct. 8, VW of America chief Michael Horn admitted that the U.S. site didn’t include the VIN tool and agreed with representatives who said it would be a “good idea” to include that for American customers.
Chairman of Škoda Prof. Dr. Winfried Vahland, who was tapped to lead a new North American Volkswagen region, will be leaving the Volkswagen Group, it was announced Wednesday.
Vahland will not be taking the N.A. role which would have given him the responsibility of overseeing the U.S., Canadian and Mexican markets.
“Differing views on the organisation of the new Group region have led to this decision,” Škoda said in a release on Wednesday, though the automaker was careful to point out that “this decision is expressly not related to current events on the issue of diesel engines.”
A replacement for Vahland in North America has not yet been announced.
Update: Official statement from EPA.
During his voluntary testimony for a congressional committee Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn announced the company would withdraw their application for emissions certification for 2016 model year Volkswagens powered by 2-liter diesel engines.
However, the reason for that withdrawal is not directly related to the “defeat device” that’s been at the center of the ongoing diesel controversy.
Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn told a congressional committee Thursday that the fixed diesel cars would achieve the fuel economy figures advertised on the cars when they were purchased as new.
“We know we can fix these vehicles to achieve emissions standards,” Horn said.
Horn said that performance such as horsepower and torque for the cars could be impacted, but by keeping those cars at or above advertised mileage, the carmaker could mitigate damage brought by forthcoming class-action and federal lawsuits. (Read More…)
Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.
Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.
“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.
In a prepared statement released ahead of congressional testimony Thursday, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn said the automaker knew of emissions issues last spring when West Virginia University researchers published findings that the automaker’s cars were illegally polluting. (Emphasis mine.)
In the spring of 2014 when the West Virginia University study was published, I was told that there was a possible emissions non-compliance that could be remedied. I was informed that EPA regulations included various penalties for non-compliance with the emissions standards and that the agencies can conduct engineering tests which could include “defeat device” testing or analysis. I was also informed that the company engineers would work with the agencies to resolve the issue.
(Should have followed up a little more on that email, probably.)
The Chairman of the Board of Management for Škoda, Prof. Dr. h.c. Winfried Vahland, is expected to replace Michael Horn as CEO of Volkswagen of America, reports Automotive News.
The news is just the latest in a number of rumors regarding a massive executive shuffle following the departure of Volkswagen AG CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday.
During the U.S. launch of a refreshed 2016 Passat in New York on Monday, Horn said: “Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. And in my German words: We have totally screwed up.”
Volkswagen USA CEO Michael Horn says the automaker expects “limited growth” until its new SUVs arrive, while one of its suppliers sets up shop in Tennessee.