By on October 10, 2016

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

Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer, Matthias Müller, had no prior knowledge of his company’s diesel cheating emission software, reports German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Jones Day, the law firm investigating the diesel scandal, has concluded the replacement CEO found out about the scandal on September 18, 2015, one week before taking over at VW and the very same day that U.S. regulators revealed to the rest of the world that Volkswagen pulled a fast one on the Environmental Protection Agency.

Brought in immediately after the scandal to replace VW’s previous CEO, Martin Winterkorn, Müller’s previous role running Porsche likely made him the perfect high-ranking candidate to possess plausible deniability about a massive crisis revolving around diesel vehicles (of which Porsche does not sell in large volumes).

Despite evidence to the contrary, Müller has publicly referred to the scandal as a “technical problem” and even claimed the entire issue stemmed from a misunderstanding about U.S. law.

With the investigation ongoing, VW agreed to spend an estimated $16.5 billion to settle civil litigation, pay environmental reparations, compensate dealers, and resolve lawsuits in each state. Over 210,000 people have signed up to participate in Volkswagen’s settlement already, most of which have opted for the buy-back option over the emissions fix.

Volkswagen, with plenty on its plate already, declined to comment any further on Müller’s lack of knowledge as the legal investigation continues.

[Image: Volkswagen AG/Wikimedia Commons]

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12 Comments on “VW CEO Apparently Had No Knowledge of Diesel Crisis...”

  • avatar

    This investigation is so lacking in credibility, I’m pretty sure the DoJ will use their copy for nothing more than as a contribution to their monthly paper recycling goals.

    Though I suppose the idea that a CEO that thought “It was all just a misunderstanding” could credibly claim to be ignorant/stupid on other fronts as well.

    Do these “independent” investigations EVER result in the CEO being shown the door, unless the board was already looking for an excuse to fire him?

  • avatar

    Plausible deniability? Possibly. Totally clueless in how he handled the scandal as it unfolded? Definitely.

  • avatar

    It’s amazing how CEO’s are never aware of bad things but are intimately responsible for all good things.

  • avatar

    Recent events have taught us that it doesn’t matter what he knew or when he knew it. Surely there was no INTENT to deceive the EPA or consumers….it was just a big misunderstanding of testing protocol and some bad software engineers.

    No reasonable prosecutor would bring this case – right?

  • avatar

    Ya, right.

    And Hillary deleted 33K e-mails by accident, Donald Trump never talked about sexually assaulting women, the tooth fairy is real, Krampus is coming this Christmas, and the Cleveland Browns are going to win the Super Bowl.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re doing it wrong. At this point in the cycle, your eyes are supposed to be glassed over, and you’re supposed to be completely forgiving everything one of the two major parties’ candidates is doing or has done, while excoriating the other for everything they have. ‘Murica.

  • avatar

    This might be plausible if it was certain American CEOs without much technical background. “Miami Mark” Fields might be a good example.

    But this is GERMANY boys…Herr Muller was a toolmaker apprentice at Audi and went on to study computer science…

    • 0 avatar

      And who spent 4 minutes blasting his minions about why the Hyundai i30 steering wheel doesn’t “klunk” when adjusted, and pulled a tape measure out of his pocket in same video.

  • avatar

    The instructions to the diesel engineers were as follows: “As usual, should you or any member of your team be captured or killed, management will disavow any knowledge of your existence. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds.”

  • avatar

    Didn’t some of the Nazi high command refer to the holocaust as a “little misunderstanding”? I guess old habits are hard to break.

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