Here's what Volkswagen had to say about the emissions testing scandal at its AGM today

Hayley Kirton
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Volkswagen Wrestles With Diesel Emissions Scandal
"What’s done cannot be undone," said chief executive Matthias Muller (Source: Getty)

Anybody who's not a fan of difficult questions may wish to spare a thought for the executives at Volkswagen, as the car manufacturer hosts its AGM in Hanover today.

In a statement published ahead of the meeting, chief executive Matthias Muller announced that the company's recall plans had gathered pace, including having recently received regulatory approval to carry out fixes on one million more vehicles.

This announcement brings the total number of vehicles recalled by the company to over 3.7m.

"We expect the recall campaign to really pick up speed now," said Muller. "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."

Read more: VW set for face-off with investors in Germany at shareholders’ meeting

Today's meeting takes place less than a year after the German company confessed to cheating emission tests, which has sparked a number of investigations by different governments and has claimed the scalps of various members of the senior team, including former chief executive Martin Winterkorn.

Referring to the scandal, Muller added:

What’s done cannot be undone. But what does lie in our power is ensuring we act in a responsible manner. This is our commitment to you. What unites all of us with a role to play here at Volkswagen – whether it be the Supervisory Board, Board of Management, executives, employee representatives or workers – is the desire to do everything we can to win back trust

Read more: VW's share price drops after profits and sales fall in first quarter

However, shareholders have been called on to oppose plans put forward by Volkswagen ahead of the AGM. Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc) last week urged shareholders to shoot down the company's plan to pay dividends, noting that, given its loss-making position, it would be better off keeping as much money in reserve as possible.

Pirc also highlighted concerns surrounding the setup of the company's board, pointing out that not enough had been done to address key weaknesses since the scandal first broke.

Hermes EOS also raised concerns about the car manufacturer's management structure, in particular pointing to the seeming lack of relevant skills and experience among the senior team.

Read more: Britain's favourite diesel cars breached emissions tests

Meanwhile, David Pitt-Watson, director of the International Corporate Governance Network, and London Business School academic, remarked:

For many years there have been concerns about the governance of VW. Today this outstanding engineering company, now fallen foul of a terrible scandal, has the opportunity to rise to the challenge, and announce a reform package, which shows its system of governance can demonstrate the proper use of the power entrusted to it.

Investors, and the governance community around the world, will be watching with interest.

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