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Volkswagen’s TOGETHER – Strategy 2025 outline that was presented to shareholders didn’t just talk about future technology and product plans. The measures undertaken by the automaker in the wake of its dieselgate scandal was also addressed at length by VW CEO Matthias Müller.

Müller reiterated that corrective measures were ongoing, and that the company would learn from past mistakes and do the right things in the future, stressing the great significance of compliance and integrity for the future of the group.

“What’s done cannot be undone. But what does lie in our power is ensuring we act in a responsible manner. What our experience over the last few months has shown is that long-term success is only possible where law-abiding and value-driven behavior forms the basis for our daily actions and decision-making,” he said.

With regards to the emissions scandal, an internal audit on processes and reporting – that was ordered immediately after the misconduct came to light – highlighted flaws in the system.

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“Based on what we now know, in the past there were certain process deficits in some technical subdivisions in addition to misconduct on the part of individuals. This was true of the testing and release processes for the engine management systems, for example. The audit identified weaknesses and proposed remedial measures,” he stated.

The automaker said it is creating more clearly structured and systematic processes. Workflows and structures used for approving the software for engine management systems are being reorganised with more clearly defined and binding powers and responsibilities.

Measures include multi-stage approval processes, an extended “four eyes” principle, clear functional separation between development, approval and quality assurance as well as escalation procedures in the event of problems.

The company also said that its emissions tests will now be evaluated externally by independent third parties. “We have decided that emissions tests at our company will, as a general principle, be externally evaluated by independent third parties in future. Real-world random testing of vehicle emissions behavior on the road will also be introduced. I strongly believe that our industry requires more transparency, courage and openness in dealing with this issue,” Müller explained.

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He added that all 31 measure sets identified by the internal audit will be systematically implemented, and in some cases, have already been completed. Other departments within the organisation are also checking their processes against a handbook of “golden rules” derived from the audit’s findings.

Müller also revealed that the automaker’s recall campaign had gathered speed, saying that the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) had recently issued approval covering approximately a million further vehicles, primarily Golf models, bringing the total to more than 3.7 million vehicles, with models including the VW Passat, Tiguan and Caddy, all variants of the Golf, the SEAT Exeo and the Skoda Superb plus various Audi models such as the A3, A4 and Q5.

“We expect the recall campaign to really pick up speed now. Tens of thousands of vehicle owners will be informed in the next weeks and asked to take their vehicles to the workshops. Our customers can rest assured that we will continue to do our utmost to make every effort to execute the recall campaign as quickly, professionally and satisfactorily as possible,” the VW CEO said.