VW CEO Apologizes as Stock Price Plummets



VW’s problems went from almost impossibly bad to definitely that apocalyptically bad earlier today, when Volkwagen’s stock fell a dramatic 23% in this morning’s trading after news broke over the weekend that the company faced up to $18 billion in EPA fines. The plunge slashed the company’s market capitalization by more than $17 billion according to Bloomberg, which provided this handy-dandy chart that neatly describes VW’s current situation …


… which — I mean — Kudos to the Bloomberg editorial team for managing to report on everything that’s been going on over at Volkswagen’s German HQ without using the words “utterly” or “f***ed,” you know? I don’t think I’d be able to do the same.

VW’s CEO is Utterly F***ed, Too

vw ceo   Google Search

As f***ed as VW most certainly is, the current VW CEO, Martin Winterkorn, is even more f***ed. Martin was forced to issue a very public mea culpa after the story broke, saying “I, personally, am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.” Feeling bad, however, isn’t likely to save Winterkorn’s job. His contract renewal is scheduled for a supervisory board vote on Friday, but Google is already citing Herbert Diess as VW CEO starting October 1st.

Even if the VW CEO is fired, it’s not likely that either VW or Winterkorn’s problems will be over anytime soon. Amid calls from within Germany asking the German government to investigate the matter, there are reports about new tensions in Volkswagen’s leadership ranks as old power struggles between Winterkorn and former chairman Ferdinand Piech (who resigned nearly five months ago) come back to the fore. At the same time, government agencies throughout Europe and Asia — which have some pretty serious penalties for excessive polluters — are being pushed to revisit the technology in Volkswagen’s diesel cars there. And, keep in mind, diesel is far more popular in those markets than it is in the US, making the potential $18 billion EPA and CARB fines seem almost reasonable in comparison.

Source | Images: NPR, Bloomberg.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • Rick Danger

    The fat lady is warming up….

  • What?!? Google is that quick? How the fuck? 😀

    • The Google knows, baby. The Google knows.

  • smartacus

    Now is the time for Porsche to demand a lot more autonomy or even gain full independence via proxy fight

    • smartacus

      Everyone knows big business never pays taxes or fines
      (they ALL get pushed onto the consumer, which is regular honest people looking to use less fuel)

      • A lot of people bought in to TDi because it was advertised as a “clean” alternative, though. It wasn’t “just” about MPGs. Those people were very much lied to.

      • Great username, by the way. 🙂

  • Marion Meads

    Many other car makers have cheated the EPA in one form or another. I posed this earlier but my post didn’t show up because it has a link that supported my comment. When posting links here, it is moderated, and moderators have no time to check them out.

    • FWIW I didn’t even see the link with all the chaos happening. That said, while you’re correct about many automakers cheating the EPA, most of the time they don’t base their entire marketing campaign around the cheat. This VW thing seems to take German arrogance to crazy new levels, and they are absolutely going to suffer for it.

  • evfan

    Winterkorn should also apologize for the lame PHEVs that VW is making. They have tiny batteries, limited autonomy and are only viable due to the crazy European standards that reward automakers for lying about fuel economy.

  • jamesjm

    VW put aside $7 billion in Europe alone to handle this crisis. Think how far $7 billion would have gone had put that into EV production and technology. What a waste… The cigarette companies did the same and fooled the FDA with their “light cigarette” with lower tar and nicotine by creating microscopic air holes around the filter. This allowed outside air to mix with the smoke to dilute the smoke going into the FDA testing machine. Smokers on the other hand, unknowingly put their lips over the air holes, effectively sealing them and sucked in the full dose of nicotine, carcinogens and tar. Diabolical and devious companies that think like this should hit hard by the Feds with fines along with jail time. Or maybe the Feds make a deal to have VW start their own Giga Factory and energy storage R&D or face the fines.