VW USA Boss Horn Resigns; Audi’s Profit Drops as Dieselgate Continues to Hurt the Company

michael horn testifies before a congressional hearing 10-08-2015

Volkswagen USA President and CEO Michael Horn resigned his position with the company on Wednesday as the diesel emissions scandal continues to rock the automaker.

VW’s luxury subsidiary Audi, which is still a separate company despite being 99 percent owned by Volkswagen, reported an operating profit that dropped 6.1 percent in 2015, mostly due to costs related to mitigating the diesel emissions problem of the parent company.

Horn’s resignation was something that was expected a long time ago, even by TFL’s own prognosticators, but the fact that he’s lasted in the position as long as he has is the biggest surprise. According to a VW press release, Horn left to “pursue other opportunities” and the company praised his leadership during the scandal. He assumed the role of president and CEO in January 2014 and has 25 years of experience with the company.

Hinrich J. Woebcken, who was recently named head of the newly-created North American division of the Volkswagen Group, will take over as president and CEO on an interim basis. VW’s North American division was created in the wake of the scandal as a way to combine the Canadian, American and Mexican markets under a single entity.

2014 audi q7 tdi

Audi’s profit drop comes during what was otherwise a banner year for the company. The Motley Fool reported that the company sold 4.7 percent more cars and 21.5 percent more motorcycles in 2015 and had an 8.6 percent increase in revenue. Audi is also the parent company of Lamborghini and Ducati, the source of the motorcycle sales.

The article also said that Audi’s report is a glimpse of what VW’s report will look like when it’s released next month. With the diesel scandal hitting VW much harder than Audi, expectations are that the VW will take a much bigger hit to its bottom line.

VW has set aside more than $7 billion to deal with the financial ramifications of the diesel emissions scandal. The U.S. Department of Justice has already sued the company on behalf of the EPA for up to $18 billion, although the final fine will most likely be much less.

At the Detroit auto show, CEO Matthias Muller said that the U.S. remains a core market for the company and is looking to increase its electric and hybrid presence. VW already unveiled the BUDD-e concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. The BUDD-e is a modern electric version of the classic Microbus.

Check out this TFLcar video of the VW BUDD-e debut at CES: