Over 90 percent of the Wolfsburg plant's 60,000-strong workforce are members of Germany's largest union, IG Metall, and the 10 labor representatives on the supervisory board have a say in appointing members of the management board. He was replaced by Matthias Mueller, a Volkswagen stalwart who stepped up to guide the company through the storm-tossed waters that surrounded it because of the diesel cheating mess.
Mueller is a four-decade veteran at VW, whereas Diess has worked for German auto-parts maker Bosch and joined BMW in 1996.
His appointment comes as Volkswagen has largely navigated past an emissions scandal in which the company admitted to rigging some 11 million cars worldwide with software to cheat pollution tests. Nonetheless, Süddeutsche Zeitung is reporting that Mueller, whose contract runs through 2020, may be on his way out this Friday when the Volkswagen board meets again. Its brands will be split into vehicle groups for Volume, Premium, and Super Premium nameplates. The company also makes cars under the Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Bentley, Bugatti, and Lamborghini brands.
Its statement said the truck and bus division, the fourth business group, would be made ready for capital markets, a step that could include selling shares in the division.
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Each "brand group" leader will also handle significant corporate functions, including Vehicle IT, Sales, Production, and Development & Research. Reuters reports that Diess and Mueller agreed to guarantee VW's manufacturing jobs in Germany until 2025 in order to get approval from the unions for a plan to turn the carmaker into a mass producer of electric cars.
"We're removing the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of cars from the road by changing out these engines", MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said. It said the head of purchasing, Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, was leaving at his own request and that his post would be filled on an acting basis by Volkswagen brand purchasing head Ralf Brandstaetter.
Blume's appointment to VW's management board comes a decade after Porsche attempted to swallow the Volkswagen Group in a spectacular, secret coup that then sports vehicle brand chairman Wendelin Wiedeking and chief strategist Holger Harter nearly pulled off - before it all collapsed spectacularly. The German state of Lower Saxony has 20 percent and Qatar Holding 17 percent.