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EDITORIAL  FULL ARTICLE 
Until today, all of PiŽchís vexations ended in tragedy 

Published: Fri, 17th Apr 2015 14:22:09 GMT
 

Volkswagen board members Porsche Winterkorn Piech MŁller

Open quote signYou couldnít make it up. 

Captivating, full of intrigue, and above all, like classical Shakespearian tragedies, until today, all of the Great Leaderís own tragedies also ended in expulsion. 

More thrilling still, the life and death battle was not fought out in wood-panelled boardrooms, but in the media. 

More entrancing still, and unlike any Shakespearean tragedy, the expected death sentence and lead up to execution, it seemed, was passed without memorable prose. Instead, to be or not to be was delivered in best Caligula style with the thumbs-down gesture. 

Volkswagenís Great Leader, Ferdinand PiŽch, is a man of great deeds and few words.

So what to make of Ferdinand PiŽch. 

In a nutshell, even his fiercest critics, while condemning his cruel methods and perform-or-perish leadership style, would concede that his deeply entrenched and uncontested tenure at VWís helm has been beyond reproach. 

Despite occasional doubts among his lieutenants, with precious few exceptions, in the end PiŽch was proven right with his judgment about VW strategy time and time again.

Thanks to his previously uncompromising style of almost tyrannical leadership and something that goes with it, a one tracked mind, the Volkswagen Group was transformed from ugly duckling to swan. 

Add to that meteoric growth in sales and profitability, plus its entrenched leadership of the worldís biggest car market, China, and what youíve got is a job well done.

His decision to take pole position in the worldís vehicle market, chiefly to build and sell annually more than 10m vehicles and nudge aside Toyota, was only missed by a whisker last year. 

Thatís four years ahead of schedule. 

As it turns out, Toyota could be dethroned as early as this year. 

His goal of transforming Audi into a money-printing global power on the still highly profitable prestige car stage - almost universally dismissed and smiled over at the outset as wishful thinking - has turned into reality. 

PiŽch hasnít put a foot wrong. 

Thatís indeed a rare thing to say for any other autoindustry captain, however accomplished.

Despite a string of outwardly questionable and outright cruel decisions to send underperforming top managers to slaughter, PiŽch has kept his Midas touch. 

Given that his billionaire family calls the shots in the boardroom naturally means that he gets his way. 

Acknowledging his virtually silent passion to lead Volkswagen Group to the very top in his lifetime, with his virtually unblemished and simply enviable track record, whoís to say that his earlier decision to throw Winterkorn to the lions was the wrong one?

Given that enthralled bystanders were passionately watching a silent movie without sub-titles, why exactly that was will be anybodyís guess. 

However, in the US, unlike its main Japanese and Korean mass market rivals, Volkswagen has taken far too long to get to grips with a catalogue of never ending woes. 

Today, thatís probably one of PiŽchís main gripes. 

The final straw, instead of moving step by step towards halfway decent sales in the recovering US Light-Vehicle market, of late Volkswagenís US sales have lurched into reverse, leaving its new showpiece Chattanooga car plant mired with below capacity working.

When storm clouds gather it is very reassuring to know that there is harmony on the bridge. 

Fully in keeping with that wisdom, and trauma inflicted by the pitbull attack, Winterkorn will, after all, stay at VWís helm to set sail once more towards PiŽchís coveted goals. 

Albeit on a likely different route and a newly issued licence to conduct some key mandatory crew changes.
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