By on April 11, 2016

Matthias Müller

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)]

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14 Comments on “Take a Little off the Top Come Bonus Time, Müller Tells Volkswagen Management...”

  • avatar

    I’ve got a better idea – scrap the bonuses completely, and cut Müller’s salary, along with the rest of top VW management, to one Euro a year until they fix the Dieselgate mess.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Volkswagen says it has contractual obligations to meet”

    Sure, but it’s time to rewrite the contracts.

    Afraid you’ll lose good talent by reneging on the bonus? Too bad.

  • avatar

    How is there a VW shareholder left. I can’t imagine holding onto shares if a company can shit all over shareholder good faith as much as VW has. How can you have any faith in management moving forward, especially after the way they have botched the clean-up. Every move they have made since seems to point more to corporate malfeasance rather than victim of regulators. It seems like a management atmosphere is a rich man’s club and what happens to the company, employees, shareholders, or anyone else is an inconvenience.

  • avatar

    What bonus do these idiots deserve? So you made the other parts, but you broke the law. That should eliminate any bonus. Maybe these clowns could buy some faux karma and donate their bonuses to black lives matter. After all, only those lives matter.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen companies cut costs by laying people off. Which improves profits. Then management gets bonuses for doing a good job.

  • avatar

    “Don’t worry folks, this won’t cut into profits or dividends. We’re cutting 3,000 administrative jobs in Germany to cover the cost.”

  • avatar

    So basically, he’s asking nicely for them to approve their own bonus cut. Three guesses what’s going to happen, lol.

    Real leadership is hard to come by, and much less so today than in generations past.

  • avatar

    30% – forgive me if I am unimpressed, especially considering it took massive pressure just to get to here.

    Honda trimmed bonuses on Takata airbags, Toyota gutted bonuses on the floor mat, accelerator issue.

  • avatar

    Can’t say I’m surprised about the bonuses. This makes me secure in my recent decision to never buy another VW after I get rid of the one in my driveway.

  • avatar

    How do I find a job where a screwup, a criminal screwup, is rewarded with keeping the job AND getting a bonus ?

    I should have gone to Wall Street or VW.

  • avatar
    splice the mainbrace

    It’s a damn shame what dieselgate has done to VW. They were just getting good enough quality wise for me to consider buying a GTI. Now, with the cow pie firmly hitting the fan, I guess I’ll just wait for the next Mazdaspeed 3 to come around and then wait another decade to see if VW can get it together. I really, really wanted to buy a VW, but they have put me back in “wait and see” mode.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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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