VW’s home town shocked by diesel gamble – CNBC

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015

That sentiment has been echoed by members of the German press, who are ramping up pressure on Volkswagen’s new boss Matthias Mueller to make good on his pledge to restore trust in the country’s largest automaker before it’s too late.

“Please clean up, Herr Müller!” was the translated message from center-left daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, saying the new boss must “open up the empire which has been run for years as a centralised, insular kingdom.”

Volkswagen’s supervisory board took the first steps at tackling that insularity on Friday by unveiling a corporate restructuring plan which aims to streamline parts of the business and give more power to the 12 brands under the Volkswagen’s byzantine organizational structure.

Still, Wolfsburg residents who have been disillusioned by the scale of diesel deception, suggest more will be needed to eliminate a perception of hubris at the highest ranks. The owner of an area hotel who asked to remain anonymous has lived in the area since 1971 and expressed disappointment and disbelief’ that executives chose to take such a serious “gamble.”

“We’ll have to deal with this for years now,” the owner said.

That fear that the fallout from the emissions cheating scandal is just getting started is keeping Wolfsburg residents on edge.

A server at a restaurant which serves mostly VW employees said there is a lot of discussion among the customers over whether job cuts could be coming and what impact it will have on the local economy and even house prices.

The sense of nervousness is also piling the pressure on policymakers in Berlin to prevent the crisis in Wolfsburg from becoming a catastrophe for Europe’s largest economy.

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