By on October 28, 2015


Speaking for the first time as Volkswagen chief, newly hired CEO Matthias Müller outlined his plan for the automaker’s future in the wake of a growing scandal for its illegally polluting cars.

Müller’s five-point plan includes a significant overhaul of the automaker’s plan to be the world’s largest automaker by 2018. According to Volkswagen, its Strategy 2025 plan — which replaces the Strategy 2018 outline — will be unveiled next year. In its earlier plan, Volkswagen had prioritized 10 million sales by 2018, 8-percent profitability and to position the automaker as “a global economic and environmental leader,” according to the automaker’s plan.

Müller’s five-point plan began with the automaker’s solution for its diesel scandal, which affects more than 11 million cars worldwide. The CEO said Volkswagen would work with German transportation authorities to “develop effective technical solutions” that would begin in January. Müller’s plan didn’t specifically outline how those cars would be fixed.

The plan also specifically highlighted changes to its structure, including a comprehensive investigation into how software designed to cheat emissions tests made its way into millions of cars. Müller said the company would “decentralize” and offer more autonomy for regions and brands in their developments and that the automaker would evaluate its massive portfolio of brands, including Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti and Ducati.

“We will review in detail our current portfolio of more than 300 models and examine the contribution that each one makes to our earnings,” Müller said in a statement.

Going forward, Müller said the company would be more open and transparent in its operation, including how it plans on growing after spending billions to recall and fix its cars — just as long as you’re not looking for details right now.

“We need a culture of openness and cooperation,” Müller said in a statement.

The automaker also announced Tuesday that it had lost $1.9 billion in third-quarter revenues, mostly due to its defective diesel cars, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Müller’s five-point plan, in brief:

• Assumption
• Investigation
• Reorganization
• Behavior modification
• Let’s 86 Our Aspiration

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25 Comments on “Volkswagen CEO Muller Outlines Plan To Save Automaker From Scandal...”

  • avatar

    Save VW from scandal? Too late.

    • 0 avatar

      What is interesting is what VW mentioned at a recent Auto Show. Not the impression you get from posts and articles on this blog

    • 0 avatar

      None of the Diesel cheating scandal is new and a similar thing happened with highway versus laboratory results, in 1988 and it involved quite a few US Manufacturers, but very little was said about it. Similar result

      • 0 avatar

        That wasn’t technically a *cheat*, by Cat, Cummins, etc, but they did game the test. Now VW took it to a whole other level. Fraud actually. Heads are gonna roll, type of stuff. And the rules weren’t as clearly defined back then. VW is looking at the RICO Act.

        Back then the media decided what’s important for us to know about. Remember these dirty trucks weren’t recalled and are still on the road today. That includes school buses and public transit. Maybe it’s better to keep some things quiet.

        • 0 avatar

          While the cheating can be actually considered a fraud in the US, I doubt that the same could happen in Europe, where there is no specific prohibition to modify engine electronics to reduce vehicle consumption and emissions during homologation test procedures. In fact, it is well known that most automakers resort to the so called “engine parameters optimization under test conditions”. I am pretty sure that VW lawyers are working on a solid defense based upon this rational for Europe. No doubt however that the issue will be much more critical in USA

      • 0 avatar

        Certainly was “cheating” by the truck companies as Jalopnik , pointed out, worse in many respects than what VW has done. Navistar was so off the pace THEY COULD NOT build an engine that complied, so they had to use Cummins instead. Embarrassing

        • 0 avatar

          Those truck engines simply run hot on the highway and cold in the city. While they are gaming the test, they don’t specifically change the ECM’s program for the test *only*, then revert back to dirty mapping when not *specifically* being tested, as is the case with VW. And 40 times worse than allowable emissions.

          No, VW may be criminally at fault here. No grey area, as was the case with Cat, Cummins, etc. They helped the EPA clearly define the rules, by the time VW TDIs came along.

          And who cares what Jalopnik *feels*?

          • 0 avatar

            The Truck engines were doing what VW does. Problem was it was a agreement amongst all US Truckmakers to cheat the system. Yes they were fined as a Group. Generally Criminality means Fraud and yes they were involved in Fraud
            Gaming? No they were not going to Atlantic City or Las Vegas

        • 0 avatar

          I’m not saying, gaming the (test cycle) system isn’t “fraud” also, but picture diesel truck makers running a Bully Dog Stage III off-road tuner, under all driving conditions, *except* when being tested! Crazy is right!! Except that would be no different than the scam VW actually pulled. Whole other ballgame.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, they pulled the same Scam as VW did, but more companies were included, it also included European owners as well

  • avatar

    I wonder if more local autonomy would have prevented the “No competitive CUVs” disaster in the US, with the overpriced Tiguan years overdue for an update, and the CrossBlue STILL not in production, and the insistence of Germany on selling products it made little sense to spend the effort to bring here (*cough* Phaeton *cough*… here’s to hoping that it gets axed in the great R&D apocalypse coming.)

  • avatar

    this is going to be analyzed in business schools FOREVER.

    just imagine – you have a front row seat to history. and some of us (myself included) are impacted directly.

    get out the chips, cheese and beers it makes for some delightful viewing.

  • avatar

    Why did this play out so differently from a typical GM mini-scandal ? I don’t understand why VW is not engaged in a decade-long campaign of denial, obstruction, obfuscation, and document shredding, ending in a $10m settlement that does not admit any wrongdoing.

    What prevented VW from saying “Engine control software is very complex, and responds to a variety of different environments and driving styles by altering engine operating parameters to provide optimal emissions and driving performance. Real-world driving conditions are different from those of a test cycle, and there may be differences in engine behavior. If you don’t like the outcome, please specify a different emissions test protocol.”

  • avatar

    Muller should just buy a couple of ship loads of CRV’s, Accord’s and maybe some F150’s and just re-badge them and sell them through their network. Finally reliable Volkswagens that Americans actually want!

    Tell me this isn’t better than that stupid Strategy 2025 Plan? Lol

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    From what I’m reading here, it’s:

    1. Fix the diesel thing – no details yet.
    2. Fix the corporate culture that permitted cheating – no details yet.
    3. Decentralize decision-making and product development. (Hard to believe)
    4. Cull the product herd. (Goodbye halo losers)
    5. Be more open and transparent. (My door is always open)

    These are the right things to say, but I still don’t see much of a plan here.

  • avatar

    I guess they have to say something even if it doesn’t mean anything

  • avatar

    Look at the picture of that guy. Surely I’ve seen him before. Did he play a villain in a Bond flick? Or a T-2 in combat with Schwartzenegger? A Gestapo agent chasing Bogart?

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been thinking about that picture too. The piercing blue eyes, the shock of white hair, the pink lips, all combine to creep me out. It’s all part of the Porsche look, and maybe it’s telling us that the Porsche wing of the family has taken over VW. Where Wiedeking failed, the scandal has succeeded!

  • avatar

    Notably missing:
    Compensation for individuals who bought cars based upon lies.
    Recompense for Governments who were lied to and issued certifications based on those lies.
    Compensation for Dealers…not that these guys morally deserve anything, but when you invest millions in a brand you don’t own, and that brand intentionally screws the pooch….

    The real plan:
    Delay, dissemble, apoligize. Take as much time as possible. Let all those TDi cars rack up mileage.

    Two years from now, when this had died down a bit, replaced by new scandal elsewhere, make a token offer for a trade in, like that $2k on the hood now. Point out that those cars have all provided service to the owners. Ignore folks like me who ate a big repair 2,000 miles out of warranty. The longer they wait, the less they will have to do….if they can delay this out 5 years, they can save a lot of money.

    Continue to clunk along, selling GTi and R to the enthusiasts, and cheap Jettas to anyone who gets lost on the way to the Toyota shop. Promise a pickup or CUV “next model generation”.

  • avatar

    This announcement seems firmly in the blah, blah, blah category. No real news, just whats-his-name mouthing future product plans, which are by-the-by and highly tentative.

    What people want to hear is an honest-to-goodness point-by-point plan as to the how and when the dud engines are going to be fixed. The rest is just lips moving. The company is so out to lunch they seem incapable of real meaningful action.

    If they don’t get moving soon, governments will TELL them what to do instead, and they deserve it.

  • avatar

    The Strategy 2025 plan will be unveiled shortly, replacing the Strategy 2018 plan. Their seven years of bad luck is accounted for. All they need now are the funds to amortize it.

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