Volkswagen: the largest German car manufacturer. The Porsches: the wealthiest family of Austria. Ferdinand Porsche, the engineering genius who would build the cars that ultimately dominated the German autobahn after Hitler’s war. VW is a part of (industrial) history.
But recently, Volkswagen has also written a different sort of history: do you remember José Ignacio López de Arriortúa, who was accused of having misappropriated trade secrets when he left his post as Head of Purchasing with VW and took a position with GM, and who was also the eponym of the López effect? Do you remember the sex scandal where prostitutes had been paid for and flown in from Brazil by the company specifically to “convince” the shop stewards committee of the proposals put forth by management? Do you remember the takeover battle between Porsche and VW and the rollercoaster ride it caused on the stock exchange? Do you remember the headlines about the fight for power between the Supervisory Board president Piech and the CEO Winterkorn. A multi-billion euro company with hundreds of thousands of employees had been temporarily reduced to the pawn of two alpha males.