By on November 13, 2015

Martin Winterkorn in Shanghai - Picture courtesy Bertel Schmitt

Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced Wednesday that he would resign his position as chairman of Audi’s supervisory board following revelations two months ago that those cars may have been illegally polluting, which threw the automaker into a tailspin.

Winterkorn stepped down from his role as chairman from Volkswagen in September after the scandal broke and resigned his position at Porsche Automobil Holding SE, VW’s largest shareholder, in October. Winterkorn may have stepped down from his position at Audi because what took him so long?

According to Automotive News, analysts said Winterkorn’s delayed exits from his top posts may indicate a shaky corporate structure at Volkswagen AG.

In September, Winterkorn resigned his position from Volkswagen and accepted responsibility for the scandal that involved 11 million cars worldwide without admitting that he knew about it.

Since that time, 800,000 additional cars have been added and regulators in the U.S. allege additional Volkswagens, Audis and Porsches may be cheating as well.

According to Reuters in October, Winterkorn was chief executive at Scania and Volkswagen’s newly formed Truck and Bus division, but it’s unclear if he’s resigned those posts as well. A list of Scania’s current board of directors does not list Winterkorn as a member.

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19 Comments on “Winterkorn Resigns Post At Audi … Wait, He Still Had A Job At Audi?...”


  • avatar

    I was surprised he was still there too. Dr. Piech continues his work behind the scenes, no doubt.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Aaron,

    Seems that nary a day goes by without another TTAC “story” about the VW Diesel Emissions Scandal.
    Yes, it’s terrible, and no, I myself am not a VW fan, after having had a 1968 Beetle.
    But aren’t you guys providing these tales — true as they may be — with excessive journalistic enthusiasm?
    Many of your stories have already been common news from other sources, reported days previously.
    Do you have a “thing” about (or against) VW for some reason?

    ========================

    • 0 avatar
      Notadude

      Hey, NMGOM, hush and shush. TTAC is my go-to site for all things VW diesel since the story broke. By the way, these guys had exclusive coverage about several important updates. They were being quoted by the NYTimes. Aaron and Mark, please keep up the great coverage.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        Notadude – – –

        Just asking some questions.

        And, by the way, “Martin Winterkorn resigns Post at Audi” is news. “Wait, he still had a job at Audi…” is news? Or does it imply that the journalists at TTAC thought he should not have a job at Audi? If so, it’s not news; it’s bias, no?

        We don’t know the full story of why he was still at Audi, but the impression was initially that Audi was not involved in the VW Diesel/NOx scandal. Only after the 3-liter diesel was implicated, — the one used in Audi’s cars — then Winterkorn resigned that post too.

        BTW: knowing the anti-business, liberal-biased NYTimes as I do, I can tell you that the old paraphrase of their motto still applies. They originally stated, “All the news that’s fit to print”; the reality is “All the news that fits we print.” (^_^)…

        ==============================

        • 0 avatar
          hotdog453

          “We don’t know the full story of why he was still at Audi, but the impression was initially that Audi was not involved in the VW Diesel/NOx scandal. Only after the 3-liter diesel was implicated, — the one used in Audi’s cars — then Winterkorn resigned that post too.”

          That’s incorrect. It was known off the bat that the shared 2.0L TDI motors used in Audis were also implicated.

          You could just not read the articles you don’t like. For example:

          https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/11/renault-nissan-alliance-crossroads-voting-stakes-power/

          That holds zero interest to me, so I skip it. I’m sure it’s a well researched and knowledge filled article, but two companies I don’t give a damn about doing something I don’t care about doesn’t warrant me opening, reading (or at least glancing) and then commenting that I do not like the fact they posted it.

          As for their “snark” of “He still had a job at Audi?”, it’s not a straight news page. It never has been. They’re allowed, nay, expected, to bring some levity to the situation. It’s funny. It’s hilarious. We have a huge, multi billion dollar company, employing many many many people, cheating on emissions for their crappy little diesel cars. It’s funny. It’s great comedy. It’s German hubris combined with technical hilarity combined with Nazi references.

          It could only get better if they decide to send their executives to South America to discuss their next moves.

          • 0 avatar
            NMGOM

            hotdog453 – – –

            “That’s incorrect. It was known off the bat that the shared 2.0L TDI motors used in Audis were also implicated.”

            You are absolutely right: thanks for the correction. The same 2-liter as in VW is used in lower Audi’s, and that kicked off the Audi involvement in the scandal. But It was after the Audi 3.0 TDI 3-liter (as in A6’s) was additionally implicated that Mr Winterkorn tendered his resignation.

            ==========================

      • 0 avatar
        MR2turbo4evr

        Agreed. The VW articles are the main reason I come here. Please keep it up!

    • 0 avatar

      A) I too vote for keeping up the coverage. TTAC is my go to source for VW updates, and to me the VW situation is the single most interesting news event in all of automotivedom.

      2) I wonder if the poster was around back in the GM “Death Watch” days?

      III) I further wonder what the over/under date is on TTAC starting a VW Death Watch?

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      You’re right of course, NMGOM. Just because this is the biggest automotive story since the GM/Chrysler bankruptcies, maybe bigger when you factor in the environmental/international impact, you’re tired of reading about it so coverage must cease. GOT THAT, MARK? NMGOM SAYS NO MORE!

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        jpolicke – – –

        Thanks for the chuckle. But I am not saying that the news reporting on this topic at TTAC should absolutely cease, but my implications are:
        1) That it should be real and unique news about this scandal, not a rehash of other sources, nor innuendos about the contents; and
        2) That it should be more or less occurring in perspective and frequency with all the other real automotive news out there.

        We wouldn’t want TTAC to be accused of boredom a best or plagiarism at worst, would we?

        ====================

  • avatar
    wmba

    Despite the hefty chortles from the in-crowd about Bertel Schmitt for some of his more silly gaffes like the Japanese import non-hurdles, on his site 6 weeks ago he pointed out the cross-directorships/positions that Winterkorn held in the other VW subsidiaries. He’s not the only VW high mucky-muck to be so affected. So this news ain’t news, folks, unless you rely on typical MSM sources, and Cole’s lack of understanding and late reporting.

    Not only that, these “resignations”, according to Schmitt, are not really RESIGNATIONS as we know them. They are apparently recorded on VW’s books as PAID vacation (!), if Schmitt is correct. And on VW, he’s more likely correct than on any other topic, as he worked decades for that schlock outfit. Mind you he doesn’t understand the ZF 8 speed auto on the Cayenne.

    VW is totally disorganized at present, a rudderless ship with everyone pointing fingers at everyone else. I think they’re going down for a Kayo, because nobody’s in charge. Said so over the last eight weeks.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The point being made is that he makes stuff up. Those aren’t just mistakes, they’re fabrications. That makes him an unreliable source

      Don’t accept anything that he says unless you can verify it yourself with at least one and preferably two reliable sources.

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      wmba – – –

      “VW is totally disorganized at present, a rudderless ship with everyone pointing fingers at everyone else.”

      Good observation and it is important.

      One contact I have at VW said that this (his) company had grown too fast, too far, in too many markets with too many different products. And the management style is bi-modal at best and schizophrenic at worst. Kind of autocratic and intimidating at upper levels, while showing little hands-on supervision at middle levels. The dispersed, hastily organized VW relied largely on trust and the German work ethic, both of which were thwarted by the pressure put on groups within VW to sell, to sell, and to sell, — to be the biggest in the world— and if some engineering teams can work out a little “emissions defeat device” to enable those sales….then so much the better.

      Well, Matthias Müller is right. Everything would have to change at VW, from top to bottom. This is the typical management trap: you can’t RULE a corporation; you must lead it, delegate, and hold folks responsible for mutually agreed upon targets, while giving them credit for accomplishments. THEN you will have trust, respect, and loyalty, —and proper business ethics —in both directions.

      Having spent two years in Germany in the late 1960’s, I doubt that the German mentality about organizations can accommodate this change, at least not fast enough to prevent a large collapse in total sales and market share, as you point out may happen (“I think they’re going down for a Kayo, because nobody’s in charge. Said so over the last eight weeks.”)

      So, yes, they will survive, but there is no way that “largest-automotive-manufacturer -in-the-world-by-2018” is going to happen now (IMHO).

      ========================================

  • avatar
    turboencabulator

    And how about Piech? Can anyone tell us which job he still has?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      turboencabulator – – –

      Mr Piëch’s roles seem to be those of board membership (Porsche, when he shows up) and partial ownership (Porsche, 10%).
      As such, he no doubt has a strong influence on Porsche’s Matthias Müller, his former protégé; and hence now on all of VW indirectly.
      ref:
      1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Piëch
      2) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/business/international/at-porsche-annual-meeting-ferdinand-piech-is-notably-absent.html?_r=0

      =============================

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I guess Winterkorn is gradually reducing income, maximizing his 401k contributions, and staggering his retirement checks. Jumping into retirement with a sudden decrease of income and lots of time on your hands is a scary prospect!

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    Now I finally understand what the initials”VW” stand for…Victory (over) Winterkorn.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Sweet Jesus, maybe he can also find a better tailor in his spare time…the puckering on his lapels is horrible.

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