For those keeping track at home, Volkswagen has scored two wins and three losses during the past few days in its epic battle to overcome Dieselgate and keep the company and its brands from derailing.
In the win column, the automaker reported over the weekend that contrary to the possibility it disclosed last week, other types of diesel engines were not compromised. Significantly, that announcement seems to contain Dieselgate’s expansion beyond the approximately 11 million engines worldwide that now are involved.
Also on the plus side, this week,VW hired a former GM chief in Europe, Thomas Sedran, as its new chief strategy officer—the second significant high-level outsider brought in to help new CEO Matthias Mueller cope with the fallout and strategic requirements from the diesel debacle.
Still, VW’s three new losses—while expected—weren’t easy to take. Among them: The company suspended more engineers and other employees in the early days of its internal probe of the scandal than previously acknowledged after taking the recommendation of US law firm Jones Day, which has offices in Germany, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Also, Toyota just surpassed VW again as the global sales leader during the third quarter, edging out the German company by a few thousand vehicles during a measuring period that only included a few weeks following the early-September disclosure of Dieselgate.
In other words, this ongoing competition with Toyota for global sales volume leadership, which had helped motivate VW and former CEO Martin Winterkorn to push clean diesel vehicles in the first place, likely will get far worse for Volkswagen in coming months. Another reason is that Toyota, by contrast, seems to be resurgent these days across a number of fronts.
And more reports are emerging about how American owners of VW clean-diesel vehicles are taking a hit in resale value because the scandal has devalued those products, making them subject to future recall and repair efforts, among other things.
But overall in Germany, other businesses and the economy as a whole seem to be taking Dieselgate in stride so far, with a new report estimating that national business morale fell only slightly in the latest survey.