The repercussions of Volkswagen’s admission in 2015 that it had installed “cheat software” on millions of diesel engines in an end-run around global emissions standards reverberate to this day. The global car, truck and bus manufacturer announced Thursday, April 13, that CEO Matthias Mueller would be replaced by Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess.
Mueller took over the CEO slot at VW in the wake of the fallout from the emissions scandal and was tasked with restoring public and shareholder confidence in the company. Fallout from the scandal has cost VW an estimated $30 billion over the past two years.
Diess currently heads the firm's namesake Volkswagen division, but now takes over a larger parent company that owns brands including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini.
Volkswagen, which employs over 640,000 people, turned aggressively to electric cars under Mueller's leadership, as well as inking agreements with Navistar to explore electric truck development in North America.
In September, VW announced it would spend over $62 billion on emerging battery technologies as it pushes to electrify all 300 models in its range by 2030. It has promised more than 80 new electric and plug-in hybrid models by 2025.
Earlier in the week, Volkswagen’s Truck and Bus division announced a long-term strategic partnership with Hino to develop electric trucks, alternative fuel vehicles and autonomous vehicle control systems. Meanwhile, the company apparently is preparing for a potential spin-off of its truck and bus operations.
These strategic moves and partnerships bolster the views of industry analysts who have been predicting VW’s entry into the North American commercial vehicle market in the future; it's already got a wide-ranging partnership with Navistar.
In other company news, there are indications VW is considering listing its Truck & Bus division as a separate stock listing in order to gain access to capital markets, including options for a partial listing and bond sales. The potential move comes as VW announced a new organizational structure at an April 13 press conference, with the company being divided into six business units with a distinct Chinese operation.