Career Interrupted

Volkswagen, Struggling With Factory Breakdowns, Parts Ways With Top Production Manager

VW Production chief Michael Macht and CEO Martin Winterkorn at the May 13, 2014, annual shareholders meeting in Wolfsburg, Germany. Source DPA
Volkswagen on Sunday announced the departure of its top VW production manager, Michael Macht, left, after a series of breakdowns at factories in Germany, the United States and Brazil. Mr. Macht appeared recently with the VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, right, at a new model presentation.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Management upheaval at Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker, could hinder the automaker from its plan to overtake global leaders Toyota and General Motors.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Volkswagen on Sunday announced the departure of its top VW production manager, Michael Macht.
    • The personnel move came following complaints by VW workers about persistent production breakdowns in Germany and abroad.
    • Mr. Macht, who had run VW production for four years, left the German automaker through “mutual agreement,” the company said.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker, over the weekend said that it was parting ways with its top production manager, Michael Macht, following complaints about repeated breakdowns at the automaker’s main factory in Wolfsburg.

In a statement, Volkswagen said Mr. Macht, a 53-year-old board member responsible for production, would leave the company “in mutual agreement.’’ The Volkswagen chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, thanked the departing executive for his “service.’’

The high-level departure came less than a month after Volkswagen’s rank-and-file, at a companywide workers meeting, complained about a spate of technical breakdowns that interrupted auto assembly in Wolfsburg.

At the meeting, Bernd Osterloh, the head of Volkswagen’s workers council, said employees would “not be held responsible for the defective processes and technical problems in production.’’ At the meeting, Mr. Winterkorn, the Volkswagen chief executive, did not rise to defend his manager, but also joined in the criticism of problems with a new production line.

“The planning of these facilities is often too big, too complex and too expensive,’’ he told about 20,000 workers who attended the meeting in Wolfsburg.

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