Wolfsburg (dpa) - Volkswagen has trouble getting to know confidential internals again. The group is currently looking for an informer from its own ranks, who recorded conversations of a working group with a delicate order in 2017 and 2018, as VW announced on request.
The online business magazine “Business Insider” had made extracts from the recordings public. The working group concerned discussed the violent dispute with the Prevent supplier group a few years ago - and how Volkswagen wanted to react to it.
We were deeply shocked when internal and confidential meetings were documented and “such information is released to the public without authorization. The case will of course be investigated, »said VW. According to “Business Insider”, it is almost 50 hours of audio recordings. A Prevent spokesman said the company had no knowledge of the recordings.
In 2016, Prevent subsidiaries stopped supplying VW with seat covers and gearboxes in the dispute over conditions, forcing the car giants to stop production for days at the main plant in Wolfsburg, among others. Further disputes followed until VW finally terminated all contracts with Prevent in 2018. The dispute still concerns the courts in some proceedings.
At the time, VW had discussed in a working group called “Project 1” how to deal with the disputable supplier. According to the Wolfsburg-based company, the VW internal team had the task of “averting further damage from the company, its customers, employees and suppliers. All possible approaches were openly discussed, but many were also rejected. It wasn't a decision-making body. » Responsible for the team were the then group purchasing manager Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz and the procurement director of the Volkswagen brand, Ralf Brandstätter. Brandstätter was recently promoted to CEO of the core VW car brand.
Part of the considerations, according to the report, was how, in the end, Prevent as a supplier in general, but also a coordinated approach with other automakers. For example, the Prevent owner family Hastor had tried to take over the Amberg supplier Grammer. However, the efforts ultimately failed due to the resistance of the management, which presented the so-called white knight with the Chinese supplier Ningbo Jifeng, who then took over the manufacturer of headrests, center consoles and commercial vehicle seats.
VW denies having consulted with Daimler and BMW about Prevent: "There have been no coordinated actions with other OEMs." Some time ago, Prevent filed a $ 750 million damages lawsuit in the United States, alleging that the company violated competition law - allegedly VW had also worked for suppliers there not to go under Prevent's wing. In Germany, the legal disputes are about specific supply contracts.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200726-99-929267 / 2