BOCHUM -- Volkswagen Group is determined to find out how the automaker became involved in tests that exposed laboratory monkeys to toxic diesel fumes, its finance chief, Frank Witter, said.
Good financial results and a successful business strategy were "worthless" without ethical corporate behavior, Witter said, adding that VW's role in the tests was shameful for the automaker.
Witter remarks were made on Thursday at the CAR industry conference here after he replaced VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller as keynote speaker. Mueller cancelled his appearance because he was summoned to the Salzburg, Austria, offices of the Porsche-Piech family, VW’s majority shareholders, to explain the background to the tests.
VW’s supervisory board will meet at the end of the month to hear the results of the investigation, Germany’s Handelsblatt reported.
"We are examining this and we are determined to get to the bottom of this," Witter said, adding that VW management had to create a corporate atmosphere in which all employees acted responsibly. "Not everything that is legal is also legitimate," Witter said.
Despite all the "terrible mistakes," Witter said VW's business is extremely robust. The group's brands, which include Audi, Porsche, Skoda and Seat, delivered a 10.74 million vehicles last year and its financial results appear solid.
Nevertheless, "a strategy without culture is worthless," Witter said, adding that that there are only a few people at Volkswagen who still believe the automaker will return to its old habits.
VW will release its 2017 results on March 17. The company's rose nearly 7 percent in the first nine months, while operating profit gained 17 percent.