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VW power struggle enters new round

VW advisory board chief Ferdinand Piëch is aiming to drive out CEO Martin Winterkorn before an annual shareholder meeting in early May. His effort undermines a company decision for Winterkorn to stay reached last week.

The executive power struggle at German carmaker Volkswagen is entering a new round. Reports from the DPA news agency and Germany's public broadcaster NDR suggest that VW advisory board chief Ferdinand Piëch is making another effort to oust the company's long-standing CEO, Martin Winterkorn.

DPA said Piëch was hoping to get a majority in his family behind the idea of driving out Winterkorn before an annual meeting on May 5.

The agency said Piëch would throw his weight either behind Porsche chief Matthias Müller or Skoda boss Winfried Vahland as Winterkorn's successor.

Infighting continues

Such a move would be in stark contrast to a decision reached by the advisory board last Friday which in a 5:1 vote had supported Winterkorn and recommended his contract to be extended beyond 2016.

A vote had become necessary after company elder Piëch had said in an interview for "Der Spiegel" that he had distanced himself from the chief executive.

While Piëch gave no details as to what caused the rift between him and Winterkorn, media reports speculated it had a lot to do with VW's recent poor performance on the US market and sales problems in China. There was also much talk about VW having failed to produce a budget car and about not having managed to come up with a viable e-car model.

hg/ng (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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