Then it’s too big. Think GM (Government Motors). Only different. As in much worse.
At Volkswagen AG, political connections come already fitted.
When it comes to Volkswagen, German chancellors don’t intervene in company decisions. But the unique arrangement in Lower Saxony (it holds 20 percent of the company) has spawned alumni in high places with an interest in the boardroom, including Merkel’s Social Democratic predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder, who sat on VW’s supervisory board for eight years as state premier, was known as the “auto chancellor” when he led Germany from 1998 to 2005 because of his perceived closeness to the car industry.
Following him to Berlin after serving at his side in Lower Saxony was Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now in his second stint as Merkel’s foreign minister. Sigmar Gabriel, who succeeded Schroeder as state premier — and VW board member — is now vice chancellor and economy minister. He also heads the Social Democratic Party, Merkel’s junior coalition partner. Christian Wulff, a Christian Democrat like Merkel who succeeded Gabriel in the state capital Hanover, made it all the way to the German presidency, before resigning in 2012 amid a legal probe.
Im Abgas-Skandal, dessen Auswirkungen noch unübersehbar sind, rückt die Frage nach der Mitverantwortung der deutschen Politik in den Fokus. Und weil die politischen Spitzen der Republik wie geschockt schweigen und selbst die sonst geliebten Talkshows meiden, werden Vorwürfe laut, die Bundesregierung habe mit Volkswagen gekungelt und möglicherweise sogar von den Manipulationen gewusst.