Porsche North America this week has halted sales of the Cayenne SUV, specifically those running on the 3.0-litre diesel engines made between 2014 to 2016. This directive affects more than just the Porsche Cayenne but also the Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Touaregs that have been allegedly fitted with an emissions defeat device. At this point in time, the issue affects North American market in particular with devastating consequences.
Volkswagen has been absolutely frantic in the quest to get ahead of these issues plaguing the brand with Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board of Management, Matthias Müller at the helm. The former Porsche top boss has recently announced his five-step plan to ‘iron things out’. Müller explained that his top priority is to support the customers affected by the diesel issue, stating “our customers are at the core of everything that our 600,000 employees worldwide do”.
Second on the list is to systematically drive forward and complete the investigation into what happened. For that matter, audit firm Deloitte has been roped in to assist VAG in their investigations. According to Müller, those responsible for what has happened must be held accountable and shall face the music if found guilty. With damages surpassing €2 billion, someone is to be held liable for it, although that seems to clash with step four.
Müller’s third step is to introduce revised structures within the Volkswagen Group that’s geared towards a greater level of decentralisation but with more independence for the brands and regions. The Board of Management will focus more on addressing cross-brand strategies while leveraging synergies and ensuring that Group resources are used in a more effective manners. Given that the company makes over 300 different models, VW will be examining them with a fine-tooth comb to determine their earning potentials for the Group.
The fourth step on Müller’s plan is to cultivate a different culture of management behavior over at the VW family, and says that he believes these changes are necessary to ensure transparency in their internal communication and subsequently handle mistakes. Given the depravity of the situation faced by the company, couple that with tougher job markets, employees would opt to not blow the whistle if it means keeping their jobs – which is perfectly understandable. If anyone of us were in a situation like that, the words “vow of silence” comes screeching straight to mind.
The final step of the reformation process is to align the company toward Strategy 2025 which is described quite simply as qualitative growth. It’s not about trying to outsell your rivals and post massive profits, but rather putting this unfortunate incident behind them and charge forward. More of this final step will be revealed later. Stay tuned.