VW chief gains key support in handling of Dieselgate meetings

VW CEO Matthias Mueller has reportedly gained the wholehearted support of the controlling bloc on the automaker’s board as criticism grows in some corners of his handling of the Dieselgate talks last week.

The head of Germany’s Volkswagen AG, lately under fire for his handling of the Dieselgate emissions scandal, has the strong support of the automaker’s controlling interests. A Reuters report said today that the Porsche and Piech families, which control the automaker, have backed VW Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller.

Mueller has drawn criticism for his handling of meetings with regulators in Washington last week. The VW CEO was slammed for waiting so long to travel for talks with regulators in Washington. The Dieselgate scandal began in September and Mueller’s trip last week was the first to see officials with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Also, Mueller took hits for minimizing the seriousness of the scandal.

A source close to the board reportedly told the Bild am Sontag newspaper that people “can see that … Mueller’s U.S. trip was not successful. He made a mistake. But that does not mean that we move away from him. The Porsche and Piech families stand firmly behind” him.

Meantime, senior members of Volkswagen’s supervisory board are set to meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the company’s ongoing internal investigation of the Dieselgate scandal. Doubts are reportedly building among some board members, especially the representatives of the influential trades unions, about Mueller, former Porsche chief who took over the scandal-plagued parent company, VW, after longtime CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned. Volkswagen rejected all reports.

The board, another source indicated, that the board was ready to forgive Mueller. The reason is that he represents the change the company is trying to implement. “There is nobody else,” the news report said.

Mueller’s trip to Washington ended on a decidedly down note Wednesday when it was revealed that he and representatives of the U.S. couldn’t reach an agreement. U.S. officials were, in particular, the news report noted, miffed when the VW chief blamed the scandal on a misunderstanding, calling it a technical, no ethical, problem. Meanwhile, Mueller did come away with a promise of continuing talks with U.S. regulators aimed at reaching an agreement on a fix for the nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles involved in Dieselgate.