VW Shakedowns: Tensions Bubble Over with VW and Audi Execs

By | January 22, 2014
Both Volkswagen and Audi have been experiencing some turmoil in their overseas operations, and while nobody at VW has been asked to step down, Audi Quattro boss Franciscus van Meel has been reassigned. Although van Meel may not be completely booted out of the company, he has been repositioned to lead Chinese operations. "As part of a planned rotation, Franciscus van Meel will take on a prominent role at Audi China later this year," confirmed an Audi spokesperson. While this may seem like everything is going well, Volkswagen group insiders have hinted at the tension between van Meel and Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi research and development boss. Taking a look at Volkswagen, Bernd Osterloh, the automaker's council chief, has declared to reporters in Wolfsburg this week that "U.S. operations are a case of disaster." VW has had a tough time cracking into the U.S., while it has had great success overseas in China and Europe. Accroding to Osterloh, the brand needs more vehicles in the U.S. markets, including a pick-up truck, but doesn't expect to see anything turn around until 2016.
Volkswagen may also be changing up its leadership positions like sister company, Audi. While there has been speculation that there aren't enough leaders in younger generations at VW, Osterloh went on record with Autocar to say, "I believe we can react quickly if we're in need of changes." If the group's plan is to overtake Toyota and GM by 2018, they may need to make those changes. Source: Autocar UK, Reuters