#Dieselfloodgates: VW to cool its jets & more


This is the place where to get your #dieselgate news as straight from the source as possible, before it has been mistranslated, misunderstood, and misregurgitated. But where to start? Here is the take from the last 24 hours.

Winterkorn to be exorcised. Martin Winterkorn stepped down as CEO of Volkswagen AG, but he still is the boss of his successor Matthias Müller. This is about to end, says Sueddeutsche Zeitung. As of this writing, Winterkorn is still Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Audi AG. He holds the same position at Volkswagen’s holding company for the MAN and Scania business, the Truck & Bus GmbH. At Porsche, Winterkorn is a member of the Supervisory Board. To make matters really bad, Winterkorn still is chief of Porsche SE. Porsche SE combines the Volkswagen shares held by the Porsche and Piech families. As chief executive, Winterkorn wields the influence of Volkswagen’s majority shareholder. New VW CEO Matthias Matthias Müller is responsible for strategies and corporate development at Porsche SE, and as such, Winterkorn is his boss. Not much longer, says the paper. After “a few formalities have been solved,” Winterkorn is expected to vacate the positions. This after the State of Lower Saxony, Volkswagen’s second-largest shareholder, demanded that Wiko goes. The metalworkers union IG Metall (50% of VW’s Supervisory Board seats) demanded same. When Piech wanted to get rid of Winterkorn in April, it was Lower Saxony and the unions that rescued Wiko. Now, they dump him. Sic transit Winterkorn. What has escaped attention: VW’s quietly deposed and loudly despised sales chief Christian Klingler is still listed as a Supervisory Board member of Porsche AG, and we haven’t even begun to look.

European Investment Bank wants its money back. EIB, a “bank” that allows the EU to finance worthy causes, may recall billions of loans given to Volkswagen, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung writes. The goings-on at Volkswagen are “outrageous,” an indignant EIB chief Werner Hoyer told the paper. It reports that the bank is checking whether loaned monies have been diverted from their intended use. “As our loans are aimed at certain climate targets, the EIB may have sustained damages,” the bank’s chief was quoted as saying. Since 1990, the EIB extended more than $5 billion of loans to Volkswagen, some of them to develop clean engines. Over $2 billion of loans are not repaid. Depending on the outcome of the probe, the bank will have to ask itself “whether the loans must be recalled ,” the bank’s chief said.

And now, #Tourangate. There is a traffic-jam on the streets of Volkswagen’s sprawling plant in Wolfsburg. The hallway radio is abuzz with the news that huge fleets of brand new Tourans are blocking traffic. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, startup of production of the first MQB Touran is fraught with problems, and miscarried cars land in the factory’s streets. Also affected is the new Tiguan SUV, which sits on the same platform as the Touran MPV. The plant grapples with too many model variants and complicated processes, the report says. Playing down the problems, a Volkswagen spokesman says that “start of production always is a challenge.” Except that the company usually is not under the magnifying glass, as it is now.

Corporate jet-sun-set. When GM was in trouble, it had to give up its corporate jets. Would VW have to do that, prices at the used jets market would crash, because VW has more planes than some airlines. The company call ten jets its own, from an Airbus A319 down to a few sleek Dassault Falcon 7X long-range trijets. Volkswagen doesn’t have to dump its fleet, not jet. However, its top executives may have to fly commercial, or take the train when they go home over the weekend. All Volkswagen AG board members, and many execs of VW’s universe of brands, have a weekly homecoming via corporate jet written in their contracts. “Free flights in the corporate jet are just not on, and must be stopped with dispatch,” a supervisory board member told Bild am Sonntag.

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We are watching you. Volkswagen’s PR department is very busy these days, monitoring the flood of (usually less than glowing) reports all over the world. The Daily Kanban landed on the company’s watch list of possible threats, as our own sensors report. In this snapshot, and for what it’s worth, the incoming traffic from Volkswagen exceeded that from Twitter.  Fair enough, you show us yours, we show you ours.