Germany’s Volkswagen has decided to postpone the plans to reshape its management of the North American unit and will not modify the business strategy before its diesel emissions scandal abates, according to a report from Reuters.
Volkswagen has been trying for years to recover its sliding position in the United States and the country triggered the company’s biggest business crisis in its 78-year history when it was revealed the automaker had cheated on diesel emissions tests. Following its admission the so-called “defeat device” illegal software was actually fitted in 11 million autos sold around the world since 2009, the German carmaker is being intensely scrutinized by national authorities around the world and also faces a massive tally of lawsuits. In the US, it is also subject to federal investigations by the Congress, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others. Before the scandal erupted, group veteran Winfried Vahland was chosen as the new North American chief but just three weeks later the former Skoda leader decided to quit due to unspecified “differences of opinion” over the North American organization.
Two sources that have knowledge of the matter said now the company has no plans to select another chief for the region until it is confident the legal struggle over its admitted cheating would end with agreements with plaintiffs and regulators. The automaker in the end could even decide to axe all diesel models sold under the VW nameplate in the United States if massive regulatory and financial penalties are incurred, added the persons. “It’s obvious that VW is devoting all efforts to contain the crisis but they need a strong management team in the U.S. now,” commented Stefan Bratzel, head of the Center of Automotive Management think-tank near Cologne.