Volkswagen's Annual Shareholders Meeting Was a Real Cage Match

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Let’s hope the cutlery was plastic and the sandwiches didn’t come with toothpicks.

Amid an investigation into the emissions scandal that recently ensnared the company’s ex-CEO and current brand chief, Volkswagen shareholders big and small gathered today to calmly discuss the company’s actions and finances.

By all accounts, the calm didn’t last.

According to Reuters, the meeting in Hanover, Germany started out with a corporate apology from chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch, who’d have less worries if his company got a nickel every time it apologized. With that out of the way, the 3,000 shareholders launched into business.

That business included two motions aimed at getting Pötsch out of the room. As a top executive, many shareholders blamed him for being part of the problem that caused the scandal in the first place. Unfortunately for the smaller shareholders, the big players circled the wagons around Volkswagen’s upper management.

The motions didn’t pass.

Ulrich Hocker, chief manager of Germany’s DSW private investor’s group, launched into the company’s top brass, calling their operation “a shambles” and blaming their “collective failure” to prevent the scandal.

“The stock has plunged 50 percent, market share keeps shrinking and diesel engines which long have been portrayed as the savior are just a big bluff,” said Hocker.

Investment firm Deka’s Alexander Scholl questioned whether the company’s big plan for electric vehicles was legit.

“It sounds appealing to aim to become the leader on electric mobility but the actual plans behind this are shallow,” Scholl said.

The meeting isn’t over, so there’s still a chance that fistfights will break out, much like in Eastern European parliaments. It didn’t help that German authorities are investigating the knowledge of former CEO Martin Winterkorn and brand chief Herbert Diess — a probe that started just days ago.

Earlier this year, the automaker’s supervisory board recommended that shareholders sign off on management’s actions during the previous year — an act required by German law. With Diess and Winterkorn now under scrutiny by the authorities, they might not get their wish.

[Image: foamcow/ Flickr]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Jimbob457 Jimbob457 on Jun 23, 2016

    Corporate flunkies are not supposed to lie in order to inflate their annual bonuses (except a little bit). Maybe an adjustment is in order.

  • Redav Redav on Jun 23, 2016

    I demand that photo be used in all future VW articles.

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.