Take a Little Off the Top Come Bonus Time, Mller Tells Volkswagen Management

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller is expected to cave to shareholder and labor pressure today and ask that his management board agree to trim their bonuses by 30 percent, insider sources have told Reuters.

Will it satisfy dealers and vehicle owners stuck with depreciated rolling stock? Not. Bloody. Likely.

The request, if it comes to pass, comes after workers unions and the state of Lower Saxony (Volkswagen’s home and its second-largest shareholder) protested the idea of senior management receiving full compensation while the diesel emissions scandal continues to rage.

The groundswell of voices demanding that management shoulder part of the financial burden takes into account the automaker’s cost-saving efficiency plan, as well as rumors of looming layoffs.

Taking home extra pay on top of a salary described as being one of the best in the industry isn’t good optics for Volkswagen, especially at a time when it is being sued by some American dealers over lost revenue. To many protesters, it appeared as if the uppity-ups were cruising over the scandal at 30,000 feet, not getting their hair mussed by its fallout.

The refrain “Oh, c’mon!” grew louder when it was reported that former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who stepped down in the wake of the scandal last fall, was eligible for some of Volkswagen’s 2015 profits.

Volkswagen says it has contractual obligations to meet, however, which is why Müller’s request would only see bonuses trimmed on a voluntary basis.

The company is nervously awaiting the April 28 release of a delayed 2015 earnings report, which should give top brass a better picture of where the company stands financially. No one expects that picture to be a pretty one.

[Image: Matthias Müller, Volkswagen AG/Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY 3.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • John John on Apr 12, 2016

    Way back when I was young - before the wheel was invented, bonuses were given out for good work and profits. Just like A's in university, they are now given out for merely showing up.

  • Raph Raph on Apr 12, 2016

    Hah, cold comfort when the layoffs start rolling around! Board: "Regrettably it has been decided that layoffs are necessary for the health of the company in these trying times as we shore up investor confidence over our unfair implication in this so called "Dieselgate". Line worker speaking loudly: "What are we supposed to do? I have bills, a family, where am I going to find work?" Board member: "Hey buddy, we are all going through tough times! If you think getting laid off is anything like taking a 30% cut in your annual bonus you need to open your eyes and be a little more compassionate to the people around you!".

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  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon