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Volkswagen chief Winterkorn promises 'calmer' future

Martin Winterkorn said VW has "clarity about its direction" Image copyright European Press Agency
Image caption Martin Winterkorn said VW has "clarity about its direction"

Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn says the German carmaker has returned to "calmer waters" following the recent power struggle.

"The past couple of weeks have been eventful ones, to put it mildly," he told the company's annual meeting.

Last month, Ferdinand Piech, VW's chairman and part of the Porsche family, resigned after a boardroom battle that spooked investors.

The annual meeting was told that VW has yet to find a replacement chairman.

Mr Winterkorn told shareholders it was "important for me to thank Piech, not only on behalf of all 600,000 employees, but also personally".

He added: "It is good that we have now returned to calmer waters. That we have clarity about our future direction. And, above all, that we can concentrate fully on our business."

Last month, in a dispute over VW's future, Mr Piech said that he was "distancing himself" from Mr Winterkorn, but denied reports that he was trying to oust the chief executive.

But the comments by one of the most powerful figures in German industry sent shockwaves through VW. The company's supervisory board threw its weight behind Mr Winterkorn and extended his contract.

Mr Winterkorn told the annual meeting that VW had "seen any number of interpretations, speculations and - unfortunately - even exaggerations over the past few weeks.

"It's important that you, as our shareholders, know that Volkswagen is a fundamentally sound, well positioned company", he said.

It was reported that one of Mr Piech's concerns was VW's inability to build a bigger presence in the UK car market. Mr Winterkorn told the meeting that the "Volkswagen brand is going on the offensive again in the United States. I'm committed to that".

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