Volkswagen Preparing for Mass Firings

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen preparing for mass firings

Volkswagen Group intends to fire a group of employees implicated in the diesel emissions fraud scandal. German prosecutors in Brunswick have identified an inner circle of 39 “suspicious engineers” it believes contributed directly to the emissions cheating. It’s expected that VW will carry out these terminations as quickly as possible, with additional waves of firings to follow.

According to Handelsblatt, Volkswagen made the decision to cleanse its ranks after being granted access to the prosecution’s investigation files in July. The automaker followed up with a series of employee “interviews” and a month-long review process. VW has already announced the dismissal of six high-ranking employees, with former development head Heinz-Jakob Neußer (Neusser) being the most noteworthy.

Neußer, already wanted by the U.S. Justice Department for corporate fraud, was suspended from work in Germany in 2015.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, VW CEO Herbert Diess said the dismissals would only affect a handful of people for the time being. He also confirmed that the terminations are going through now that the automaker has been able to examine the prosecutors’ investigative documents.

Those files also alleged that Diess was informed of the existence of cheating software two months before U.S. regulators finally blew the whistle. The United States previously agreed to give him safe passage earlier this year, possibly hoping that he would testify against former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn. No charges have been filed against Diess, but he is now under increased scrutiny in Germany.

VW continues to maintain that the management board did not violate its disclosure duties or act illegally when it decided not to inform investors about the emissions issue. The company’s excuse is that upper management failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation and had no way of knowing the full scope of potential fines and legal ramifications.

(Note: The previous headline, which contained the prefix “Line ’em Up,” was changed to appease a group of tone-policing auto journalists who congregated on Twitter to express their outrage, despite the fact that no readers saw a problem with it. So, to defuse this growing mob of professionals who believe we were making a Holocaust joke because the story involves Germans (we weren’t, and wouldn’t), the headline underwent surgery. We apologise for causing any offense, real or forced. – Associate Ed.)

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Tsarcasm Tsarcasm on Aug 23, 2018

    And Piech is untouchable, he knew everything!

  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Aug 23, 2018

    And yet, the VW-haters have ZERO problem - when it's THEIR favorite brand dodging recalls, exaggerating pollution compliance/fuel economy/safety, etc.; they feel safe to throw stones from their glass houses.

    • Dantes_inferno Dantes_inferno on Aug 24, 2018

      >And yet, the VW-haters have ZERO problem – when it’s THEIR favorite brand dodging recalls, exaggerating pollution compliance/fuel economy/safety, etc.; they feel safe to throw stones from their glass houses. Spot on. Welcome to the easily-offended era of snowflakism - where the morally sanctimonious come out of the woodwork. I don't subscribe to the fake outrage victim mentality. Coming from a science and engineering background, I prefer to solve problems instead of whine about them.

  • Arthur Dailey This car is also in my all time favourite colour combination for 1970s' Town Cars. The black exterior with the deep red (burgundy) interior. Even took my driving test in one. The minute that the driving examiner saw the car I knew that I had passed. He got in and let out a long sigh and started asking about the car. My Old Man always had a Town Car in that black/burgundy colour combination for 'business meetings' that required the use of a back seat for passengers. No way that his full sized associates could fit in the back of a Mark IV or V. So I also have quite a bit of driving time behind the wheel of Town Cars. Just add in the 450 cid engine and the 'optional' continetal hump and I would love to have one of these in my driveway.
  • Art Vandelay 15k for some old rusty 80s junk that is slower to 60 than the Exxon Valdez? Pass. Plus no TikTok on the old Mercedes
  • JMII I know people behind me get POed when I refuse to turn (right or left) depending on traffic. Even my wife will scream "just go already" but I tend err on the side of waiting for a gap that gives me some cushion. It's the better safe then sorry approach which can be annoying for those behind. Oh well.
  • Bobbysirhan Next thing you know, EV drivers will be missing the freedom to travel on their own schedules instead of their cars'.
  • Cprescott I'm not surprised by this behavior - it is consistent with how owners of Honduhs, Toyoduhs, or Mazduhs drive. Without fail, these are the consistently obtuse drivers on the road.