Published on March 20th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Future of Volkswagen
A concerted effort for the future: with a joint presentation, the Works Council, politicians, the Group and the brand all recently appealed for support for a unified path out of the Volkswagen crisis. “Despite the different views which people will of course have within a company, we know that we can only do it together,” said Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, at the works meeting in Wolfsburg. He encouraged the workforce to see the resulting transformation “not as a threat but as an opportunity”. Müller: “Together, we must make the necessary changes to safeguard the future of Volkswagen.”
Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Group Works Council, and Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand, emphasized that everyone would need to pull in the same direction to make the company fit for the mobility of the future. “We are in absolute agreement; we are determined to bring Volkswagen back on the road to success together,” said Osterloh, speaking to an audience of more than 20,000 employees in Hall 11 at the Wolfsburg plant. And Diess emphasized: “It is our common task and responsibility to guide Volkswagen safely into the new era of mobility.”
In his speech, Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, clearly stated that Lower Saxony was giving the company its full support as a major shareholder: “Lower Saxony has had a very close connection with Volkswagen for decades. The state is standing by Volkswagen and its employees – in good times and in not so good times.” Weil promised the employees that this would continue to apply in the future. “There is no reason to make any changes to the close links between the state and employees at Volkswagen. Let us carry on with confidence and commitment on this basis.”
Works Council Chairman Osterloh underlined that the Board of Management and the Works Council were forging ahead with clarification with full power. “We are well aware that this is what our customers, our employees, shareholders, politicians and the public expect – and rightly so.” Osterloh assured the employees that “relentless clarification” had the full support of management and Works Council: “Only when we have thoroughly clarified these events can we avoid further damage to our company and to our jobs. As a workforce, we will fight hard to make sure that Volkswagen emerges from this crisis with new strength.”
Nevertheless, brand CEO Diess sees positive signs in the current situation. The Tiguan is a great opportunity,” he said, speaking where the new compact SUV is to be produced. “To date, about 15,000 Tiguans have been ordered. The start of production has gone very well to date and was excellently planned by the team in Wolfsburg. This is how we can and should continue.” Diess said that the 12-point program of the Volkswagen brand was a comprehend-sive reform program which would make the company faster and more efficient, safeguarding its future. “If we do the right things now, Volkswagen can become the sparkling core brand of the Group again in a few years’ time. The Wolfsburg plant has a key role to play in these efforts,” Diess added.
In his speech, Group CEO Müller emphasized: “The core brand Volkswagen and our main plant in Wolfsburg bear a special responsibility”. He thanked not only the major shareholders such as the State of Lower Saxony for their support, but also and especially the workforce. Müller: “I am deeply impressed by the way our employees are standing by Volkswagen despite everything that has happened and how everyone is working to confirm the trust of our customers.”He said that the bonus which had been decided on for 2015 was therefore “well-earned and justified”.