Lessons Learned from Volkswagen Crisis Management Case Study

Crisis management is a critical aspect of maintaining a company’s reputation and trust in the face of unexpected challenges. 

One such notable case is the Volkswagen crisis, which sent shockwaves through the automotive industry and beyond. 

The emission scandal, involving the deliberate manipulation of emissions tests, not only tarnished Volkswagen’s brand image but also resulted in severe financial consequences. 

We present Volkswagen crisis management case study that we delve into Volkswagen’s crisis management approach, analyzing their initial response, communication strategies, and the role of leadership.  

Whether you’re a business leader or simply interested in corporate reputation management, this blog post offers valuable lessons and recommendations for navigating crises and safeguarding brand integrity.

Let’s dive in and learn more about this

Background of the Volkswagen crisis 

At the heart of the Volkswagen crisis was a shocking revelation that rocked the automotive industry and shattered the trust of millions of customers worldwide. 

In 2015, it was uncovered that Volkswagen had been involved in a large-scale emission scandal, where the company deliberately installed software in their diesel vehicles to manipulate emissions test results. 

The software, known as a “defeat device,” allowed the vehicles to detect when they were being tested for emissions and adjust their performance accordingly to meet regulatory standards. However, during real-world driving conditions, these vehicles emitted significantly higher levels of pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide (NOx), than what was permitted by environmental regulations.

This scandal, initially discovered by researchers and later confirmed by regulatory authorities, exposed the extensive deception and unethical practices within the company. It affected millions of Volkswagen vehicles globally, resulting in severe environmental implications and public health concerns. 

The revelation not only impacted the reputation of Volkswagen but also shook the confidence of customers, shareholders, and the entire automotive industry.

The emission scandal quickly evolved into a full-blown crisis, necessitating a comprehensive crisis management approach to mitigate the damage and regain trust.

Impact on Volkswagen’s Brand Image and Financial Performance

The emission scandal had a profound and far-reaching impact on Volkswagen’s brand image and financial performance.

The revelation of intentional deception and violation of emission standards shattered the trust that customers, stakeholders, and the general public had in the company.

Volkswagen, once hailed as a symbol of engineering excellence and environmental responsibility, was now viewed as a company willing to sacrifice ethics for competitive advantage.

The damage to Volkswagen’s brand image was significant. The scandal tarnished the company’s reputation for reliability, honesty, and environmental consciousness. Consumers felt betrayed and questioned the integrity of Volkswagen’s entire product line.

The negative media coverage and public scrutiny further eroded the brand’s credibility, leading to a substantial decline in customer loyalty and sales.

Financially, the impact was devastating. Volkswagen faced hefty fines, legal settlements, and costly recalls to address the affected vehicles. The company incurred billions of dollars in expenses related to legal proceedings, compensations, and repairing the damages caused.

The market value of Volkswagen plummeted, leading to a significant decrease in stock prices and investor confidence. The financial repercussions extended beyond the immediate aftermath of the scandal, with long-term consequences for the company’s profitability and market position.

The combination of reputational damage and financial losses made it imperative for Volkswagen to implement effective crisis management strategies to mitigate the impact and begin the process of rebuilding trust with stakeholders.

The recovery process would require not only addressing the immediate fallout but also implementing long-term measures to regain credibility and restore the brand’s reputation.

This documentary also further explains different aspects of the Volkswagen crisis.

Initial response and handling of the crisis by Volkswagen

Volkswagen’s initial response to the emission scandal was widely criticized for its lack of transparency and accountability. When the news broke, the company’s initial reaction was denial and deflection, attempting to downplay the severity of the issue. Volkswagen initially attributed the discrepancies in emissions to technical glitches and procedural errors rather than deliberate manipulation.

As the evidence against the company became overwhelming, Volkswagen eventually admitted to the intentional use of defeat devices in their vehicles. The CEO at the time, Martin Winterkorn, issued a public apology and acknowledged the breach of trust. However, the response was perceived by many as too little, too late, and lacking genuine remorse.

Volkswagen’s communication strategy during the crisis was also heavily criticized.

 The company struggled to provide clear and consistent messages, leading to confusion and further erosion of trust. The lack of timely and transparent communication only fueled speculation and intensified public outrage. Customers, shareholders, and regulatory bodies demanded greater accountability and transparency from the company.

Furthermore, the crisis exposed a failure of leadership within Volkswagen. The top management, including Winterkorn, faced allegations of negligence and a lack of oversight. The perception of a corporate culture that prioritized profits over ethical conduct further damaged the company’s credibility.

Evaluation of communication strategies used

Volkswagen’s communication strategies during the emission scandal were widely criticized for their inadequacy and lack of transparency.

Here are some key aspects of Volkswagen’s communication strategies that require evaluation:

  • Lack of Transparency: One of the major shortcomings of Volkswagen’s communication was the lack of transparency. Initially, the company failed to disclose the true extent of the issue, instead opting for vague explanations and downplaying the severity of the emissions manipulation. This lack of transparency eroded trust and further damaged the company’s reputation.
  • Delayed Acknowledgment: Volkswagen took a considerable amount of time to acknowledge its wrongdoing and admit to the deliberate use of defeat devices. This delay in accepting responsibility created the perception that the company was not genuinely remorseful and had tried to cover up its actions. Such delays can significantly hinder crisis management efforts and exacerbate the negative impact on stakeholders’ trust.
  • Inconsistent Messaging: Volkswagen’s communication during the crisis suffered from inconsistencies. Different statements from various company representatives and executives created confusion and diminished credibility. In a crisis, it is crucial to provide consistent and unified messages to ensure clarity and maintain trust.
  • Insufficient Customer Communication: Volkswagen’s communication with affected customers was also a point of contention. Many customers felt left in the dark, unsure of the implications for their vehicles or the steps being taken to address the issue. Proactive and transparent communication directly with customers could have helped alleviate concerns and demonstrate a commitment to resolving the situation.
  • Lack of Empathy and Apology: Another notable shortcoming was the perceived lack of genuine empathy and apology in Volkswagen’s communication. While a public apology was eventually issued, it was widely viewed as insincere and reactive rather than proactive. Effective crisis communication requires a heartfelt apology and acknowledgment of the impact on affected stakeholders.

Role of Volkswagen leadership in managing crisis 

Following are some of the key roles that Volkswagen leadership played during the crisis:

  • Initial Denial and Lack of Accountability: The leadership at Volkswagen initially denied the allegations and downplayed the severity of the emissions scandal. This response reflected a lack of accountability and transparency, which further eroded trust and escalated the crisis.
  • CEO Resignation: As the scandal unfolded, Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of Volkswagen at the time, resigned from his position. This leadership decision demonstrated a sense of accountability and was seen as an acknowledgement of the failure in overseeing the company’s actions. However, some critics argued that the resignation came too late in the crisis management process.
  • Public Apology and Admissions: Following the resignation of Winterkorn, leadership at Volkswagen, including the newly appointed CEO Matthias Müller, issued public apologies and admitted to the deliberate use of defeat devices. While the apologies were seen by some as reactive, they were still an important step towards accepting responsibility and beginning the process of rebuilding trust.
  • Implementation of Remedial Measures: Under new leadership, Volkswagen took steps to address the crisis. The company initiated massive recalls of affected vehicles, introduced technical fixes to comply with emission standards, and invested in the development of electric and hybrid vehicles to shift towards cleaner technologies. These actions demonstrated a commitment to rectifying the issue and investing in more sustainable practices.
  • Legal Settlements and Fines : Leadership at Volkswagen also engaged in negotiations with regulatory authorities and affected stakeholders to settle legal disputes and pay fines. This involvement in legal proceedings was a critical responsibility of leadership to resolve the crisis and mitigate financial damage.
  • Cultural and Organizational Changes: The crisis prompted Volkswagen’s leadership to initiate cultural and organizational changes within the company. They aimed to foster a more transparent and ethical culture, emphasizing compliance and accountability. These changes were aimed at preventing similar incidents in the future and rebuilding the organization’s integrity.

Lessons learned from Volkswagen’s crisis management Case Study

Following are six key lessons that orgnaizations can learn from Volkswagen crisis management case study: 

A. Importance of transparency and honesty in crisis communication

The Volkswagen crisis highlighted the criticality of transparency and honesty in crisis communication. Attempting to conceal or downplay the severity of the issue can significantly exacerbate the crisis and erode trust further. Openly acknowledging the problem, providing accurate information, and maintaining transparency throughout the crisis are crucial for rebuilding trust and credibility.

B. The significance of swift action and accountability

Volkswagen’s crisis management highlighted the importance of taking swift action and demonstrating accountability. Delays in acknowledging and addressing the issue can prolong the crisis and deepen public distrust. Taking immediate steps to rectify the problem, such as recalls, technical fixes, and accepting responsibility for the wrongdoing, helps mitigate the damage and shows a commitment to making amends.

C. Building and maintaining trust with stakeholders

The crisis underscored the essential role of trust in maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders. Volkswagen learned the hard way that once trust is lost, it takes significant effort and time to regain it. By prioritizing open and honest communication, delivering on promises, and implementing measures to prevent future incidents, companies can rebuild trust with customers, employees, shareholders, and regulatory bodies.

D. Strengthening ethical practices and corporate culture

The Volkswagen crisis shed light on the need for stronger ethical practices and a culture that prioritizes integrity. Organizations must foster a culture where ethical conduct is valued, promoted, and consistently upheld. This includes implementing robust compliance mechanisms, encouraging whistleblowing, and ensuring ethical behavior permeates all levels of the organization.

E. Crisis preparedness and proactive measures

The Volkswagen crisis emphasized the importance of crisis preparedness and proactive measures. Organizations should develop comprehensive crisis management plans, including scenario analysis, risk assessments, and communication strategies. Being proactive in identifying potential risks and implementing preventive measures can help mitigate the impact of a crisis and enable swift and effective response.

F. Continuous learning and improvement

The crisis served as a reminder that organizations must continuously learn from their mistakes and improve their practices. Conducting post-crisis evaluations, analyzing the root causes, and implementing corrective actions are essential for preventing future crises and strengthening the resilience of the organization.

Final words 

The Volkswagen crisis management case study serves as a poignant reminder of the critical importance of effective crisis management in safeguarding a company’s reputation and stakeholder trust. The lessons learned from this case can guide organizations in navigating crises and mitigating their impact. Transparency, honesty, and swift action are essential in crisis communication, while accountability and a strong ethical foundation are vital for rebuilding trust. 

Building and maintaining trust with stakeholders requires consistent effort and a commitment to delivering on promises. By prioritizing crisis preparedness, proactive measures, and continuous learning, organizations can enhance their resilience and minimize the likelihood and severity of future crises.

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Tahir Abbas

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Leadspace image for the FAW Volkswagen case study

The transformation of the global automotive industry is accelerating, and China has beaten the rest of the world off the line.

China’s auto industry is producing 44% or more of the world’s total electric vehicle (EV) inventory—the largest share of any nation, by far. The country has also rolled out more than 800,000 public charging stations, vastly more than anywhere else. China’s EV producers include domestic companies as well as major international automakers. Multiple startups and even electronics manufacturers are getting in on the game as cars become more digital and more interconnected every day. It’s the dawn of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV).

For FAW-Volkswagen, a joint venture between Volkswagen and FAW, one of China’s largest automotive companies, the goal is to get out in front of the transforming industry by transforming itself. Beyond producing great vehicles, the company wants to deliver an overall customer experience of such quality that it turns first-time customers into lifetime customers.

Toward that goal, FAW-Volkswagen has engaged IBM Consulting® , followed the IBM Garage™ Methodology and implemented IBM Cloud Pak® for Integration to transform its development capabilities and bring together the ecosystem of services involved in today’s driving experience into a seamless, convenient experience for the driver.

Customer-focused transformation

IBM helped FAW-Volkswagen build and train a digital innovation team of > 150 people to drive a customer-focused transformation

Millions of new users

With enhanced customer experiences, the company has registered > 3 "million new users for its VW and Jetta brand apps"

“The digital transformation of the auto industry is an important pillar of China’s national economy,” explains Weipeng Jin, FAW-Volkswagen’s Manager of Internet Application Development, Management Services Department, and Head of Chengdu R&D Center. “At FAW-Volkswagen, we’re laying a solid foundation to be the country’s leading innovator in electric vehicle production and in the digital automotive business. While making great cars, we also aim to contribute greatly to the national digital economy strategy.”

FAW-Volkswagen is China’s first carmaker built to meet the scale of the Chinese market. At eight manufacturing plants in five cities, it produces Volkswagen and Audi models, and a separate line of vehicles named for VW’s Jetta brand.

So, as demand for EVs skyrockets, the challenge for FAW-Volkswagen is not so much about manufacturing scale.

It’s about software development.

Today’s high-end automobiles contain more than 100 million lines of code. (For comparison, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner contains about 14 million lines of code. The Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator, contains 50 million lines.) And as vehicle technology continues to evolve—offering more control options and media, more functionality through mobile devices, and even self-driving capabilities and IoV connectivity—the amount of software will continue growing exponentially.

FAW-Volkswagen wanted to create seamless integrations between the software and the ecosystem of external services consumed by drivers—such as streaming media, parking, charging and navigation services—and maintain the seamlessness even as the software in every element continues to rapidly evolve.

To make it happen, however, the company needed to extend its development capabilities. “There is a huge difference between software and traditional electronics in terms of research and development methods. Software development focuses on agile iteration and practice, which poses a huge challenge to the R&D organization of traditional car factories,” explains Jin. FAW-Volkswagen aimed to shift the R&D paradigm to focus on cloud-native development and integration.

To build the internal skills needed to meet its goals, FAW-Volkswagen turned to a trusted partner it has worked with for more than 20 years: IBM Consulting. The IBM team helped FAW-Volkswagen transform not just the skills of the client’s development team, but also the very nature of the team within the company.

This was no mere training workshop. IBM Consulting employed the IBM Garage Methodology—proven practices that guide a company through designing, building and scaling solutions for end-to-end transformation—to help the FAW-Volkswagen R&D Center in Chengdu, China, create and train a 150+ person digital-innovation team in Design Thinking and agile operations, including DevOps practices, to support the organization’s transformation into a more customer-focused enterprise. The process generated innovative ideas and equipped FAW-Volkswagen with the practices, technologies and expertise to rapidly turn those ideas into business value.

For example, the teams identified a deficiency related to the three distinct networking platforms for FAW-Volkswagen’s three major car brands. A lack of scalability and stability across the platforms hindered innovation and delivery of new projects. “Based on this discovery,” says Jin, “we initiated the integration of the three brands and built an advanced, stable and evolvable Internet of Vehicles platform to solve the current dilemma and promote ongoing innovation that can more easily be applied across the brands.”

On the technology side, FAW-Volkswagen implemented IBM Cloud Pak for Integration, which provides integration patterns that align with the company’s requirements. FAW-Volkswagen uses IBM Cloud Pak for Integration components, as well as the IBM Cloud Pak’s  Red Hat® OpenShift®  container platform, to develop containerized API-based integrations across two use cases: ecosystem integration and back-end integration.

The ecosystem integration brings the diverse digital service ecosystem into vehicles as well as customers’ mobile devices. This includes integration with partners in streaming media, parking services and, in particular, EV charging services. There are multiple charging network operators in China, some that support alternating current (AC), others that support direct current (DC), with varying charge speeds available. FAW-Volkswagen uses the IBM Cloud Pak’s API gateway to mediate integration and accelerate the onboarding of charging operators. And drivers get a streamlined experience: they see all available charging options, filtered to their vehicles’ requirements, in a single FAW-Volkswagen app.

The back-end integration connects the company’s systems of record to the always-evolving software of all FAW-Volkswagen vehicle models. This includes synchronizing product development and manufacturing processes with agile development of front-end software. For customers, it means a more convenient and seamless experience. For example, a car owner can place a maintenance order to a dealership from the car’s head unit or from a mobile app, or track production progress of a recently ordered car. In each case, the IBM Cloud Pak’s API management component exchanges information via APIs between the customer’s interfaces and back-end systems such as the dealer management system and the manufacturing execution system.

“We use the API management capability in the Cloud Pak for Integration to reduce onboarding time for ecosystem partners from months to weeks,” says Jin. “For back-end integration, we use APIs to simplify access to complex applications, reducing the time to develop solutions that use these systems by 50%.”

“We’ve created a compelling customer experience on all touch points powered by digital technologies and data,” says Jin.

And customers have noticed. More than three million new users have registered for FAW-Volkswagen’s VW and Jetta brand mobile apps since the company’s development and integration transformation.

From ordering a car to driving it, FAW-Volkswagen has improved the experience.

It became the first mainstream, joint-venture vehicle enterprise to enable online custom vehicle orders. More than just a convenient new feature, “the Order to Delivery project initiated a profound change in our production planning,” explains Jin. “We have moved from an inventory-oriented model to a customer-oriented model. We can grasp users’ preferences and needs, quickly convert them to products and flexibly adjust production to satisfy expectations.”

As an example of its innovations in the driving experience, FAW-Volkswagen won a 2021 Red Dot Brand and Communication Design Award (link resides outside of ibm.com) for its Smart Cockpit Human-Machine Interface (HMI) design.

The company garnered additional accolades for transforming the very nature of its development team from a factory-focused software department to an agile group of innovators. The Chengdu R&D team became the first team within FAW-Volkswagen to gain independent R&D capabilities and won an IDC award for “Best in Future of Digital Innovation” for an intelligent network digital capacity-building project, which included the establishment of an intelligent ecosystem middleware platform. Weipeng Jin was also recognized as the “Rising Star of the Year” in the 2021 IDC China Future Enterprise Awards.

FAW-Volkswagen has changed what the company means to its customers. No longer just a producer of cars, it’s also an innovator of the experience of modern driving. “Moving forward,” says Jin, “the customer experience will continue to be our guiding principle. Using agile development and integration, we will continue to create excellent business and travel services and optimize customers’ driving and riding experiences.”

Faw Volkswagen logo

Founded in 1991 and jointly managed by First Automotive Group Corporation, Volkswagen AG, Audi AG and Volkswagen (China) Investment Co., Ltd., FAW-Volkswagen operates in China and produces Volkswagen and Audi automobiles and a separate line of vehicles named for Volkswagen’s Jetta brand. The company employs more than 40,000 people and produced more than two million vehicles in 2020.

To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022. IBM Corporation, IBM Cloud, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504

Produced in the United States of America, March 2022.

IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, IBM Cloud, IBM Cloud Pak, IBM Consulting, and IBM Garage are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at ibm.com/legal/copyright-trademark .

Red Hat® and OpenShift®, Fedora® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates.

The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions.


Sustainability drives automotive market cap

How Volkswagen is driving clarity and confidence in their sustainability strategy.

Call for change

Having a bold Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy matters to investors, employees and the public—but not if they don’t understand it. Despite having launched the most ambitious decarbonization and digitalization initiative in automotive history, the Volkswagen Group (VW), the world’s largest automaker by volume, had a market cap well below that of its rivals. VW realized they needed to better articulate their ESG strategy.

To address this, the auto major wanted to implement a more cohesive sustainability narrative—from environmental to diversity to human rights and resource efficiency—that would resonate with its culture and its individual brands. VW also wanted to sharpen its overall ESG focus, defining the initiatives, responsibilities and KPIs that would make sustainability synonymous with the corporate strategy.

Achieving this would clarify its sustainability strategy—to become an emission-free, digitally-connected leader in mobility—and drive greater awareness among stakeholders, including the investment community.

When tech meets human ingenuity

Accenture broke the project into three phases. Phase one involved determining where VW stood in relation to its peers. Since investors trust S-Ray, a machine learning platform that generates ESG ratings of companies based on millions of data points for over 7,000 listed companies, the team identified the data needed to generate an S-Ray score and ESG rating in line with VW’s industry-leading efforts.

Next, the team conducted C-level workshops to develop support for the company’s ESG vision, emphasizing decarbonization, circular business models, workforce transformation and human rights in supply chain. The third phase saw the team help articulate VW’s ESG narrative, which included key initiatives, responsibilities, KPIs and a plan to communicate all the company’s efforts.

volkswagen consulting case study

A valuable difference

In six months, the team consolidated VW’s ESG narrative from 18 sustainability topics to just four major topics, with easily understandable ambitions and KPIs for each area so the company can measure its progress more efficiently. Targets were set in areas such as decarbonization, circular economy, human rights in business and workforce transformation.

With ESG objectives woven into its operational and functional processes, there’s now a clear connection between VW’s S-Ray score and the overall corporate strategy, integrating the NEW AUTO plan to pivot VW to a global software-driven mobility provider that powers the future of EVs and fully networked transportation.

Customers are already on board—in December 2020 VW’s electric ID.3 was the second best-selling car in Europe and by 2021, the Volkswagen Group was being seen as the market leader in e-mobility.

With ESG analysis and real-world ESG performance becoming clearer, VW is able to accelerate its sustainability strategy. Its overall growth ambitions are reflected in its market cap rise, which is becoming consistent with that of other global enterprises. VW’s roadmap is set for further growth as investors look to make smarter bets on how we’ll all get where we want to go—together, and for the planet.

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Case study: How the Volkswagen Group promotes compliance

The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest automaker in Europe – delivering, in 2018, a total of 10,834,012 cars and commercial vehicles to customers. Compliance with national and international laws and regulations, internal rules and voluntary commitments is among the Volkswagen Group’s guiding principles     Tweet This! , along with ensuring compliant behaviour in a lasting manner.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report b y the Volkswagen Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database  that can be found at this link . Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

The Volkswagen Group believes that only with lasting, dependable integrity and compliant behaviour will it gain and strengthen the trust of its staff, customers, shareholders, business partners and the general public and seeks to become a role model when it comes to integrity and compliance. In order to promote compliance the Volkswagen Group took action to:

  • implement a Code of Conduct
  • provide channels for reporting misconduct
  • encourage training and communication

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  • Which are the most important impacts (material issues) the Volkswagen Group has identified;
  • How the Volkswagen Group proceeded with stakeholder engagement , and
  • What actions were taken by the Volkswagen Group to promote compliance

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What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report the Volkswagen Group identified a range of material issues, such as environmentally friendly products, human rights, product and transport safety, zero-impact mobility, customer satisfaction. Among these, promoting compliance stands out as a key material issue for the Volkswagen Group.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups the Volkswagen Group engages with:



·      “KulTour” event series

·      Together4Integrity (T4I) integrity campaign

·      Employee breakfasts with managers (Board of Management, top management)

·      “Volkswagen Inside” staff newspaper

·      “MITBESTIMMEN!” Works Council newspaper

·      “Volkswagen Portal” Intranet

·      “Group Connect” social Intranet

·      Political message service

·      Daily press review

·      Company meetings

·      Welcome days for new employees

·      Recruitment fairs

·      Group-wide “Opinion Survey” staff survey

·      Works Council dialog with employees (for example with apprentices, doctoral students)

·      Internal conferences (for example Global Sustainability Summit, Group Global Communication Conference, Global Government Affairs Meeting)

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine




·      Volkswagen magazine

·      Group fleet magazine

·      Product brochures

·      Social media (Facebook, Twitter)

·      Trade fair appearances

·      TV product advertising

·      Advertising campaigns

·      Customer surveys

·      Autostadt as an automotive world of discovery

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

Business partners



·      Working groups

·      Expert conferences

·      Trade fair appearances

·      Workshops for suppliers

·      Concept: “Sustainability in supplier relationships”

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

·      Group sustainability report

·      Stakeholder dialog event

·      International Suppliers Fair (IZB)

Investors and analysts


·      SRI roadshows

·      Discussions with investors

·      Special “Investor Relations” area on the Group homepage

·       Financial news

·      Ad-hoc releases

·      Investor conferences

·      General meeting

·      Annual press conference

·      Group annual report

·      Group sustainability report

·      Stakeholder dialog event

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine



·      Working groups

·      Expert conferences

·      Cooperation projects

·      Conferences

Politics and associations


·      Memberships

·      Delegation visits

·      Experts talks and opinions

·      Events at Group representative offices

·      Event sponsoring (party days, summer festivals, parliamentary receptions etc.)

·      Advertisements in party publications

·      Involvement in working groups and steering committees

·      Project working groups

·      Workshops and conferences

·      Symposiums and expert meetings

·      “Street.Food.Politics” event series

·      Activities of the Global and Group Works Councils

·      Group sustainability report

·      Stakeholder dialog event

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine



·      Discussions with journalists

·      Press releases

·      Group Media Portal

·      Online newsfeed

·      Group sustainability report

·      Group annual report

·      Annual press conference

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

NGOs/charitable organisations


·      Memberships

·      Cooperations (for example DRK)

·      Event sponsoring

·      Global CC projects

·      Inquiries and statements

·      Funds for disaster relief

·      Volkswagen refugee aid (for example language development, sitting in on classes)

·      Host of the Global Social Business Summit 2018

·       Hackathon event series

·      Group sustainability report

·      Stakeholder dialog event

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

Researchers & experts


·      Research subsidy programmes

·      Conference sponsoring

·      Cooperation projects

·      Expert talks and conferences

·      Research colloquiums

·      Employee lectureships

·      Audi’s “Perspective Responsibility” series of presentations

·      AutoUni Wolfsburg activities (guest presentations, institute work)

·      Group sustainability report

·      Stakeholder dialog event

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

Residents & local authorities


·      Open day

·      CC projects at sites

·      Plant management discussions with residents

·      Local event sponsoring (for example fun runs, cycling tours), support for local associations

·      Sponsoring awards (for example Mönchehaus Museum Gosla)

·      Sponsoring cultural symposiums (for example Art X Tech in Beijing)

·      Free tickets for museum visits (for example Volkswagen ART 4 ALL at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin)

·      Foundation partnerships (for example with the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing)

·      Sponsoring of local art and cultural events by Volkswagen plants

·      “Shift” sustainability magazine

·      Group sustainability report

·      Audi Summer Concerts in Ingolstadt

·      Easter Festival in Salzburg

To identify and prioritise material topics the Volkswagen Group carried out a number of stakeholder surveys and, also, organised a Stakeholder Panel.

What actions were taken by the Volkswagen Group to promote compliance ?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report the Volkswagen Group reports that it took the following actions for promoting compliance:

  • Implementing a Code of Conduct
  • The Volkswagen Group’s Code of Conduct is the key instrument for strengthening employees’ awareness of correct behaviour and finding the right contact persons in cases of doubt. The Code of Conduct was revised in 2017, and was established throughout the Group. The framework is available to all employees on the intranet and to third parties on the Internet at any time. The Code of Conduct is also integrated into operating processes. For example, employment contracts for employees of Volkswagen AG include a reference to the Code of Conduct and the obligation to comply with it. In addition, compliance with the Code of Conduct remained part of employees’ annual reviews in the reporting period and was thus taken into account when calculating their variable, performance-related remuneration. In addition to the Code of Conduct, there are various Group policies and guidelines regarding specific compliance issues. Organisational instructions also apply on dealing with gifts and invitations, as well as on making donations.
  • Providing channels for reporting misconduct
  • The Volkswagen Group has had a system for reporting any breaches of the law or rules since 2006. This system is optimised on an ongoing basis. Among other things, a central investigative office has been set up in the Compliance department, which is responsible for coordinating the whistleblower system within the Volkswagen Group and for processing information concerning Volkswagen AG and its subsidiaries. Information on misconduct can be submitted in any of the major languages used by the Group and is treated confidentially. The people providing the information will be protected and need not fear any sanctions for their actions. They can decide for themselves whether they wish to give their names. For this reason, a specially protected online reporting channel was set up in 2017, via which information can be sent to the investigative office anonymously. The Volkswagen Group continues to rely on established channels such as the ombudsman system, too. This system can be used to confidentially report any suspicions – in one of 11 different languages – to two independent lawyers appointed by the Group. The ombudspersons and the whistleblower system can be used by anyone, employees and people outside the Group. In addition to the existing reporting channels, since August 2018 it has also been possible to report potential breaches of rules via a 24/7 telephone hotline. By calling the relevant number, employees, business partners and customers anywhere in the world can provide information round the clock, 365 days a year. A caller who calls the global telephone number will speak to a specially trained person, who can include an interpreter in the call if necessary. In addition, a revised Group policy was passed in 2018. This has further improved the whistleblower system, by providing extra communication options. The whistleblower system was also strengthened significantly by adding more staff. In 2018, a total of 2,920 reports were registered throughout the Group. All substantiated reports have been, or will be, investigated, and any misconduct penalised.
  • Encouraging training and communication
  • The Code of Conduct, is a key component of compliance training. The training is completed by anyone, from directors to individual employees. Face-to-face and web-based or online training is used. Following a risk-based approach, mandatory compliance training is provided for specific target groups. In addition to traditional lectures and online tutorials, case studies, role-playing games and other interactive formats form part of the training provided to employees and managers. Employees can also use special e-mail addresses to solicit advice on compliance issues. All internal channels are used to communicate regulations and other compliance-related content, with a focus on further developing the whistleblower system over the course of the reporting period. Online communication takes place mainly via employees’ own posts on the Volkswagen intranet and on the internal, Group-wide communications platform “Group Connect”. There are also articles, interviews and other publications in cross-brand and specific divisions’ media. At the same time, compliance-related issues are publicised at various employee information events and company meetings held at a number of locations.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1)  Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

2)  Disclosure 205-3 Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken

Disclosure 205-2  Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 : Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme:  Anti-corruption

Disclosure 205-3  Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken corresponds to:

78% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism .

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1) This case study is based on published information by the Volkswagen Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


2)  https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to the Volkswagen Group: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us .

Globalizing Volkswagen: Creating excellence on all fronts

The Beetle had made Volkswagen (VW) a household name all over the world for more than 50 years. But in the early 1990s the VW Group, with its Audi, Seat and Skoda brands, was in bad shape: a high cost base, costly duplications between the different car brands and a weak model line-up had led profits to decline by 85% in 1992. At this point, Ferdinand Piëch, CEO of Audi, was asked to take over as CEO of the VW Group. The company ended 1993 with a loss of almost €1 billion. After almost a decade of Piëch’s leadership, the company was barely recognizable. In 2001 the Group’s net income increased to a record breaking €2.9 billion. Between 1993 and 2001 sales were up from €39.1 billion to €88.5 billion, with international sales increasing from 55% to 72%. The turnaround of the VW Group included making Audi into a premium brand competing directly with BMW and Mercedes; saving Seat from near bankruptcy; and transforming Skoda Auto from a cheap Eastern European car maker into a respected player. In addition, the VW Group acquired the rights to coveted brands such as Bentley luxury cars, bought an equity stake in Scania Trucks and revived the Bugatti car brand. According to Business Week, VW was “one of the world’s best car companies.” The case describes the transition from 1993 to 2001. The case takes readers through VW’s successful implementation of a platform manufacturing system, its globalization strategy, the move upmarket and many innovations along the business system. Piëch and his management team succeeded in integrating where it made sense while differentiating where it mattered to customers. Therefore VW was able to reap economies of scale over models, brands and regions.

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Identifying targetable customers more likely to convert

Volkswagen Group

volkswagen consulting case study

The challenge

VWG captures millions of rows of data each day across more than 50 datasets covering all areas of the business from CRM, to sales, aftersales, and survey data, from both online and offline sources. Automotive purchase cycles are long (three years) and the pathway to purchase spans months (~120 days); customers interact with the brand dozens of times prior to purchase. The brand had toestablish which engagements were demonstrative of an interest to buy vs which were less committed interactions by consumers. Without knowing the value of each engagement, VWG was struggling to determine which actions they should be influencing individuals to take.

increase in click-through-rate for audience selected using scoring

increase in conversion to online high value behaviour

increase in open rate for the campaign

audience size for Audi’s Repurchase email campaign

The approach

We built a custom Customer Engagement Score (CES) to place a value on every engagement an individual can have with VWG. The value of the engagement is anchored to key offline buying actions and vehicle sales, meaning the score is a representation of each consumer’s likelihood to purchase. This daily-refreshed score is firstly summarised to an individual so VWG know exactly how engaged any given customer is on any given day. Next, the score was rolled up to a brand level, allowing each VWG brand to understand how many individuals were engaging with them at any point in time. Last of all, the rolled-up score was placed into ‘bands’ of high, medium, or low so the business could easily identify and action on customers who are demonstrating high levels of engagement.

The outcome

Our work has allowed VWG to understand exactly how individuals are engaging with their brand at any point in time. Being able to track all engagements in a single metric gives an unparalleled view of the brand’s performance and demonstrates the wide impact that marketing efforts have in driving engagement. CES is now acting as an identification tool that allows our client to quickly prioritise the highest engaged customers for communications. Audience selections for email campaigns have seen significant improvements in both the volume targeted and the performance of targeted activity, as the CES allows us to identify those who are engaging and thus ready for a ‘conversation’ with the brand. For the first time, VWG can evaluate which customer engagements matter in generating a sale. Previously, website visits could not be associated to a vehicle order, so while VWG understood the importance of their websites they struggled to quantify the benefit they bring and which parts of the website bring the most value. Our solution has provided fantastic visibility of exactly how brand engagement fluctuated as COVID restrictions changed.

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More From Forbes

How BCG Is Revolutionizing Consulting With AI: A Case Study

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In a world where AI is transforming every sector, companies are constantly seeking ways to gain a competitive edge. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is leading the charge by embracing artificial intelligence (AI), particularly generative AI, to revolutionize its internal operations and consulting services. Let’s delve into how BCG is leveraging AI to transform its business processes and the consulting industry as a whole.

The Strategic Importance Of AI At BCG

AI is not just a buzzword at BCG; it is a fundamental element of their strategy. Vlad Lukic, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG, emphasizes the significance of AI, stating, "It gets into the crux of our business, right? And it's going to be fundamental to the toolkit and skills that we need to have." AI serves as an assistant, enabling BCG consultants to operate at unprecedented speeds, thus allowing them to generate insights faster and drive impactful results for their clients.

Real-World Applications Of AI At BCG

1. Interview Processing and Analysis:

Lukic recalls his summer internship, where he had to interview 30 engineers about materials science over three days, transcribe the conversations, distill the insights, and create slides. This labor-intensive process took two weeks. In contrast, a recent consultant used BCG's enterprise GPT to perform a similar task. "On the third day, he had slides and insights ready to go," Lukic marvels. The AI tool transcribed interviews, highlighted key themes, and generated draft presentations in minutes, reducing a two-week process to two or three days.

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2. Gene: BCG's Innovative Conversational AI:

Another striking example of AI's impact at BCG is the development of Gene, a conversational AI designed to engage with humans and create audio experiences. Originally conceived as a co-host for BCG's "Imagine This" podcast about the future, Gene has evolved into a versatile tool for client engagement and content creation.

Paul Michelman, editor-in-chief at BCG, explains, "Gene was born for a specific job, really one job, and its original training was to be a co-host of a podcast." However, the potential of Gene quickly became apparent, and its applications have expanded. Gene now appears at live events with clients and other audiences, engaging in conversations about the future of AI and thought leadership.

Enterprise GPT: A Game Changer

BCG's enterprise GPT is a cornerstone of their AI strategy. Rolled out to every employee, this tool ensures all data remains within BCG's control. Consultants can also build their own GPTs for specific engagements, fostering innovation and efficiency. Over 3,000 GPTs have been created, addressing tasks from document summarization to administrative functions. Lukic highlights its impact on productivity, noting, "It's really helping us move to a different level of speed."

Evolving Roles And Skills In The AI Era

With AI taking over routine tasks, the role of consultants is evolving. Lukic underscores the need for purposeful toil and sanity checks to ensure junior consultants develop essential skills. He explains, "We are forcing some of those conversations with our team members, so that we can build their skills along the way." This includes teaching consultants how to engage with AI tools effectively, ensuring they can provide accurate and reliable insights.

The development of Gene has also prompted new considerations in AI deployment. Bill Moore from BCG Design Studios, who created Gene, explains the challenges in balancing autonomy and control: "We adjust, we work with the temperature to keep that sort of fine-tuned and we'll drop it down to zero if we need really accurate responses."

Measuring The Impact Of AI

BCG conducted a scientific experiment involving 750 employees to measure the impact of generative AI on performance and efficiency. The results were compelling. For straightforward tasks, productivity increased by 30-40% for new hires and 20-30% for experienced consultants. However, for complex tasks, productivity sometimes decreased due to the challenges of debugging AI-generated outputs. This experiment highlighted the importance of understanding where AI can be most effective and implementing proper guardrails to ensure accuracy.

Insights From BCG's GenAI Experiment

BCG's broader research into generative AI reveals significant insights into its value and potential pitfalls. The study found that around 90% of participants improved their performance when using GenAI for creative ideation. However, when applied to business problem-solving—a task outside the tool's current competence—many participants trusted misleading outputs, resulting in a 23% decline in performance compared to those who didn't use the tool. This underscores the necessity of proper training and understanding the limitations of AI tools.

Ensuring Accuracy And Mitigating Risks

To mitigate risks associated with AI, BCG has implemented several guardrails. Human experts review AI-generated insights, and workflows are designed to ensure continuous oversight. Additionally, BCG fine-tunes their models based on usage and feedback, reducing the likelihood of errors.

In the case of Gene, transparency and ethical considerations are paramount. Paul Michelman emphasizes, "We think it's very important... to be fully clear when we're using technology. And two, to really avoid anthropomorphizing." This approach extends to Gene's voice, which is intentionally androgynous and slightly robotic to clearly differentiate it from a human.

Governance And Strategic Implementation Of AI

BCG employs a dual approach to AI implementation. While top-down initiatives identify key workflows that can benefit from AI, grassroots innovation is also encouraged. A senior task force focuses on internal support functions and consulting cohorts, identifying where AI can eliminate bottlenecks and enhance productivity.

The Future Of Consulting In The AI Era

Looking ahead, AI is poised to reshape the consulting industry. Lukic predicts that within a decade, 50% of current tasks will be automated through AI, allowing consultants to focus more on change management and driving adoption within client organizations.

Bill Moore envisions a future where conversational interfaces like Gene become a new layer of interaction with technology, potentially revolutionizing accessibility and user experience.

Strategies For Successful AI Adoption

For CEOs considering AI adoption, Lukic offers two key pieces of advice. First, don't wait. Start addressing frictions and building the necessary governance structures now. Second, engage the organization. Avoid outsourcing AI implementation entirely and instead, focus on building internal capabilities.

Transforming Consulting With AI

BCG's strategic application of AI, particularly generative AI and conversational AI like Gene, showcases how embracing technology can revolutionize internal processes and enhance client service. By leveraging AI tools like enterprise GPT and Gene, BCG is boosting productivity, fostering innovation, and preparing its workforce for the future. As AI continues to evolve, BCG's proactive approach provides a valuable blueprint for other organizations aiming to harness the power of AI in their own operations.

Bernard Marr

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Hello fam,Here is the solution, kindly go through it and hit me up incase of any edits. Feel free to invite me for future questions. SESSION 13 – VOLKSWAGEN CASE STUDY QUESTIONS 1. The process employed at VW is referred to as “mass customization.” Describe what this means and the pros and cons of such a manufacturing model from the perspective of the customer. • Description Marketing as well as manufacturing technique that combines personalization of custom-made products and flexibility. • • • • • Pros Allows to me more engaged Customer ...

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Elektrostal Population157,409 inhabitants
Elektrostal Population Density3,179.3 /km² (8,234.4 /sq mi)

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Elektrostal Geographical coordinatesLatitude: , Longitude:
55° 48′ 0″ North, 38° 27′ 0″ East
Elektrostal Area4,951 hectares
49.51 km² (19.12 sq mi)
Elektrostal Altitude164 m (538 ft)
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8 July02:53 - 11:31 - 20:0801:56 - 21:0601:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
9 July02:55 - 11:31 - 20:0801:57 - 21:0501:00 - 01:00 01:00 - 01:00
10 July02:56 - 11:31 - 20:0701:59 - 21:0423:45 - 23:17 01:00 - 01:00
11 July02:57 - 11:31 - 20:0502:01 - 21:0223:57 - 23:06 01:00 - 01:00
12 July02:59 - 11:31 - 20:0402:02 - 21:0100:05 - 22:58 01:00 - 01:00
13 July03:00 - 11:32 - 20:0302:04 - 20:5900:12 - 22:51 01:00 - 01:00
14 July03:01 - 11:32 - 20:0202:06 - 20:5700:18 - 22:45 01:00 - 01:00

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Located next to Noginskoye Highway in Electrostal, Apelsin Hotel offers comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi. Free parking is available. The elegant rooms are air conditioned and feature a flat-screen satellite TV and fridge...

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