Volkswagen Boss Sorry About Nazi Gaffe

Volkswagen Boss Sorry About Nazi Gaffe

"It was in fact, a very unfortunate choice of words and I am deeply sorry for any unintentional pain I may have caused", Diess wrote in a post on his LinkedIn page.

Speaking at a company event in Germany on Tuesday, Herbert Diess used the expression "Ebit macht frei" while talking about the automaker's profits. "For that I would like to fully and completely apologize".

"At no time was it my intention for this statement to be placed in a false context".

Volkswagen was originally founded in 1937 by the National Socialist Party under Adolf Hitler to develop an affordable economy vehicle that would eventually become the Volkswagen Beetle. The phrase sounds similar to "Arbeit macht frei", a phrase inscribed the gates of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Founded in 1937 as part of Adolf Hitler's vision for every German family to own a auto, Volkswagen used more than 15,000 slave laborers during the war as it manufactured vehicles for the German army.

Diess apologized, explaining he was trying to make the point that VW's more profitable units had more financial freedom. Diess' comments were first reported by German news organizations.

Asked whether Bernstein analyst Max Warburton was right to suggest that Diess had lost support internally as a result of the remarks, Volkswagen's supervisory board said such an inference was inappropriate.

Analysts at Bernstein said management change at Volkswagen had become a significant risk following the supervisory board's statement. In the latest twist, the SEC said Thursday it was suing the carmaker for failing to disclose to investors that its diesel vehicles violated emission standards. In a separate email to Business Insider, Volkswagen called the case "legally and factually flawed, and Volkswagen will contest it vigorously".

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