In the year since Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal broke, the auto world has speculated about whether Ferdinand Piech, VW's famously demanding, longtime boss, deserved some of the blame. Former industry executive Bob Lutz last month speculated that the no-excuses work culture Piech fostered could have led to cheating.
But the German newspaper Bild may have shed new light on the matter. The paper reported that Piech tried unsuccessfully to query ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn about the issue a month before the two had a public falling out.
Piech told U.S. law firm Jones Day, which is conducting VW's internal investigation, that he tried to question Winterkorn in March 2015 about the EPA's probe into the carmaker's emissions.
At the meeting, Winterkorn rebuffed Piech, responding that he had it all under control, Bild reported. The revelations possibly help explain why Piech suddenly broke with his protege in April 2015, publicly challenging Winterkorn's authority.
Piech resigned from his post after a two-week power struggle with Winterkorn, who was himself toppled after the scandal was revealed.