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        納粹建立的這家公司該如何擺脫丑聞?

        Vivienne Walt 2018年08月12日

        全球最大的汽車公司渴望快速擺脫排放門,同時豪賭電動汽車。

        駕駛體驗的變革:大眾新任首席執行官赫伯特·迪斯現身大眾創新中心,步入自動駕駛概念車。他不惜耗費重金,投資新技術。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        在德國中部夏季一個炎熱的下午,全球最大汽車制造商的新任首席執行官坐進了一張白色皮革座椅,將鞋伸進了腳下厚厚的蓬松地毯,然后露出了微笑。于4月接任大眾首席執行官一職的赫伯特·迪斯將自己高大的身影塞進了一大塊酷似轎車形狀的櫻桃紅金屬殼中。不過,這輛車沒有方向盤、踏板、離合器或任何人們通常能夠在汽車中找到的部件。這個光鮮亮麗的奇妙裝置是大眾的概念車,名為I.D. Vizzion,在3月的日內瓦汽車展上首次與世人見面。

        然而,I.D. Vizzion不僅僅是個試驗品,或輪子上的起居室。用迪斯的話來說,它能夠讓人們窺見不久之后公司的無人駕駛愿景。迪斯正斥巨資押注基于這一愿景的策略,不惜花費數億美元投資電動和自動駕駛技術。這位首席執行官堅信,這一技術的正確運用將成為公司生存的關鍵。

        迪斯坐在大眾沃爾夫斯堡總部巨大的工廠中說道:“我們不妨看看當馬車向汽車轉變,化學成像照片向數字成像照片轉變的時候市場都發生了什么變化。”沃爾夫斯堡距離柏林西部約140英里,是一個暮氣沉沉、因大眾而興起的城市,人口12.5萬。“市場出現了巨大的顛覆性變化。當時能夠活下來的知名公司寥寥無幾。柯達倒下了,而且他們很清楚自己倒下的原因。”

        59歲的迪斯上任僅有數月的時間,他選擇了在大眾神秘的創新中心(黑色的天鵝絨窗簾遮掩了房間的一部分)與我見面,為的是強調他的觀點:只有大刀闊斧的轉型才能夠挽救這家汽車巨頭,以免被更多靈活的競爭者拋在身后。他說:“如今,變革對于公司來說真的很重要。”

        On a hot summer afternoon in central Germany, the new CEO of one of the world’s largest automakers sinks into a white leather armchair, digs his shoes into the thick shag carpet under his feet, and grins. Herbert Diess, who took over as Volkswagen AG’s chief executive in April, has his tall frame folded inside a cherry-red chunk of metal that closely resembles a car—except for the fact that it’s missing a steering wheel, pedals, gears, or anything else you’d normally expect to find in an automobile. The slick contraption is a VW concept car called the I.D. Vizzion. It made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

        The I.D. Vizzion is more than just an experiment, however, or a living room on wheels. Rather, says Diess, it offers a glimpse of our driverless near-future. And Diess is betting heavily on a strategy built on that vision—staking hundreds of millions of dollars on electric and autonomous technology. The CEO insists that getting the technology right will be key to the survival of his company.

        “Look what happened when we went from horse-drawn carriages to cars, from chemical-based photography to digital photography,” says Diess, sitting in Volkswagen’s gargantuan factory headquarters in Wolfsburg, a sleepy company town of 125,000 people, some 140 miles west of Berlin. “There was huge disruption. Very few of the successful companies remained. Kodak did not make it, and they knew what was coming.”

        Just a couple of months into his job, Diess, 59, has chosen to meet me inside Volkswagen’s secretive innovation center—a black velvet curtain hides one part of the room from view—in order to underscore his point: That only radical transformation can save the auto giant from being left behind by more nimble competitors. “It is now really important for us to change,” he says.

        加速前進:工作人員正在大眾德累斯頓工廠組裝一輛e-Golf電動汽車。大眾計劃淘汰e-Golf,從而為新EV平臺讓路。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        很少有行業能夠像汽車行業那樣恰好成為了這場技術巨變的聚焦點。100多年來,汽車行業的存在完全依靠的是一項單一的發明——內燃機。如今,整個汽車行業的年銷量約為8000萬輛。去年,有1080萬輛來自于大眾集團,1040萬輛出自豐田之手,而豐田已經逗留在汽車銷量排行榜前列長達數年之久。大眾旗下的12個品牌包括保時捷、斯柯達、奧迪和大眾自身,而大眾也是公司旗下最大的品牌。去年,大眾的總營收達到了創紀錄的2600億美元,足以讓公司登上今年《財富》世界500強榜單第7位,僅次于豐田。

        然而,盡管數千萬車主可能在今后很長一段時間內仍將繼續使用燃油作為動力,但汽車制造商正在面臨一場大清洗,因為全球市場開始緩慢轉向電動汽車,而且很多國家的碳排放目標也逐漸讓傳統的駕駛方式走向末路。拼車的興起有可能在未來十年內讓城市的面貌和汽車持有量出現巨大的變化。

        在這一轉型過程中,美國親眼見證了自身市場主導地位的衰退,然而美國民眾對汽車的激情事實上左右了行業策略長達數十年的時間。如今,更為重要的一個國家莫過于大眾最大的市場——中國,該國民眾購買了全球四分之一的新車,而且該國也開足了馬力,生產暢銷的電動汽車。“變革即將來臨。”迪斯說道。

        這個范圍的動蕩對于任何企業來說都是令人生畏的。然而對于大眾來說,在此事發生之時,大眾依然還未走出其令人震驚的柴油尾氣作弊丑聞陰影。用一些高管的話來說,這是自希特勒設立沃爾夫斯堡工廠并將其作為重要的納粹項目以來,公司遭遇的最大打擊,時隔正好80年。

        這次丑聞又被稱為“排放門”事件,于2015年9月爆發,當時美國環境保護署發現大眾參與了約60萬輛柴油車碳排放測試的造假,隨后這一數字增至數百萬輛。在五年多的時間中,沃爾夫斯堡的工程師在車上安裝了“作弊裝置”,用于掩蓋引擎排放的氮氧化物含量。麻省理工學院的科學家發現,真實的排放量高達美國法律規定上限的40倍。他們估計,造假引擎所排放的有毒化合物可能導致歐洲1200人過早死亡,也致使美國的過早死人數增加了約60名。

        約三年前,大眾當時已經支付了近300億美元用于法律和解,并召回或改裝了1100多萬輛汽車,但塵埃遠未落定。大眾首席技術官烏爾瑞奇·艾希霍恩說:“令我感到驚訝的是,我們有時候仍然會發現一些更老的軟件也擁有這些功能,但我們并不知道車里面安裝了這種軟件。”此外,大眾在歐洲和美國被卷入了數十個指控和案件,而這些案件可能會持續很長一段時間;3月發布的最新年報列出了數十個正在進行的法律行動。迪斯說:“這些案件將持續數年的時間。”有多少?“我不能說。”

        為了展示公司如何向前邁進,大眾邀請《財富》雜志在6月底訪問其錯綜復雜的沃爾夫斯堡總部,并逗留數日,從而在公司成立80周年之際以不同尋常的視角來深入了解這家處于緊要關頭的公司。

        Few businesses sit so squarely in the crosshairs of a tech upheaval as the auto industry, whose very existence has depended for more than 100 years on a single invention: the combustion engine. Today, the industry overall sells about 80 million cars a year. Last year, a full 10.8 million of those came from the Volkswagen Group, more than the 10.4 million sold by Toyota, which had held the top-selling spot for years. Volkswagen’s 12 brands include Porsche, Skoda, Audi, and VW itself, the biggest brand of all. Last year, Volkswagen’s total revenues were a record $260 billion. That was enough to place the company at No. 7 on this year’s Fortune Global 500 list—one spot behind Toyota.

        And yet, while millions of us will probably be filling our tanks with fuel for years to come, carmakers are facing a major shakeout as the world begins a long-term shift to electric vehicles and as carbon-emissions targets in many countries slowly upend old driving habits. A boom in ride-sharing could also drastically reshape cities and car ownership within a decade.

        Amid this transformation, the U.S., whose passion for cars virtually dictated the industry’s strategy for decades, is seeing its market dominance fade. More important now is China—Volkswagen’s biggest market—which buys about one-quarter of all the world’s new cars and which is racing full speed into producing mass-market electric vehicles. “Change,” says Diess, “is imminent.”

        Turbulence on this scale would be daunting for any business. But at Volks-wagen, it’s happening while the company is still reeling from its mammoth diesel-cheating scandal, which some execs describe as its biggest trauma since Adolf Hitler launched the Wolfsburg factory as a prized Nazi project exactly 80 years ago.

        “Dieselgate,” as the scandal is known, exploded in September 2015, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revealed that Volkswagen had engaged in carbon-emissions testing fraud in about 600,000 diesel-powered vehicles; that number has since risen to millions. Over a period of more than five years, engineers in Wolfsburg had installed “defeat devices” in vehicles—software that masked the level of nitrogen oxides the engines were emitting. The real emissions rates were revealed to be up to 40 times above the legal U.S. limit, according to MIT scientists, who estimate that the toxic compound in the tricked-out engines could cause about 1,200 early deaths in Europe and about 60 more in the U.S.

        Nearly three years on, Volkswagen has so far paid almost $30 billion in legal settlements and recalled or refitted more than 11 million vehicles—and the fallout is still far from over. “To my dismay we sometimes still find functions in older software that we did not know was there,” says Volkswagen’s chief technology officer Ulrich Eichhorn. In addition, Volkswagen is embroiled in dozens of prosecutions and lawsuits across Europe and the U.S. that are likely to linger for a long while yet; the latest annual report, in March, listed dozens of ongoing legal challenges. “It will take years,” Diess says. How many? “I cannot say.”

        To show how the company is moving forward, Volkswagen invited Fortune to spend several days in late June in its sprawling Wolfsburg headquarters, offering a rare, deep look inside the company at a pivotal moment in its 80-year history.

        德國汽車的歷史:試駕中的大眾汽車,從沃爾夫斯堡擁有80年歷史的工廠行駛至橫跨小河的道路。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        龐大的工廠綜合體面積差不多與摩納哥市或亞特蘭大機場相當,每年生產800萬輛車。工廠采用了紅磚結構,看起來十分簡樸,其歷史能夠追溯至20世紀30和40年代,當時由納粹掌管。工廠的二戰防空洞位于機器人控制的最先進組裝線的正下方,已經改造為一個紀念館,用于紀念約2萬名強迫勞工和曾在工廠工作、被蓋世太保監督的集中營囚犯。在《財富》雜志記者到訪沃爾夫斯堡的那一周,整個城市慶祝了其80歲的生日,紀念希特勒在1938年啟動大眾工廠。如今,作為培訓的一部分,大眾都會安排學徒參加為期三天的奧斯維辛集中營參觀活動。

        大眾稱,公司更愿意暢想未來而不是糾結于丑聞。然而事實證明,對排放門事件視而不見也是不現實的。在《財富》雜志記者到訪沃爾夫斯堡的兩天前,德國檢方因排放門事件向大眾開出了10億歐元(約合11.7億美元)的罰單,成為了德國歷史上最大的工業罰單之一,而且針對的是德國最為知名的企業之一。數天后,警察突然出現在奧迪首席執行官瑞普特·施泰德的家門口,并逮捕了涉嫌參與丑聞的瑞普特。警察繳獲的文件中包括大眾有關排放門的內部報告,該報告由公司委托Jones Day律所位于慕尼黑的律師匯編,并拒絕公開發布。7月初,公司拒絕公開報告的法律行動以失敗告終。

        The giant factory complex, roughly the area of the principality of Mon-aco or the Atlanta airport, produces 8 million cars a year, from a set of austere-looking redbrick buildings that date back to when the -Nazis ran the operation in the 1930s and 1940s. The factory’s World War II bomb shelter sits directly underneath the state-of-the-art, robot-controlled assembly line and has been turned into a memorial to the 20,000 or so forced laborers and concentration-camp inmates who worked in the factory, watched over by the Gestapo. Coincidentally, the week Fortune visited Wolfsburg, the town celebrated its 80th birthday, marking Hitler’s inauguration of the Volkswagen factory in 1938. Today, Volkswagen apprentices take three-day trips to the Auschwitz concentration camp as part of their training.

        Volkswagen says it’s eager to talk about the future rather than rehash the scandal. But ignoring Dieselgate has proved impossible. Two weeks before Fortune’s visit to Wolfsburg, German prosecutors had levied a billion-euro penalty (about $1.17 billion) against Volks-wagen for Dieselgate, one of the country’s biggest-ever industrial fines—and a blow against one of Germany’s most iconic companies. Days later, police stormed Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s home and arrested him for alleged involvement in the scheme. Among the documents police seized was Volkswagen’s internal report on Dieselgate, which it had commissioned Jones Day lawyers in Munich to compile and which the company has refused to release publicly; in early July, it lost a legal challenge to keep the report confidential.

        大錯綜復雜的沃爾夫斯堡總部差不多與摩納哥市或亞特蘭大機場的大小相當,每年生產800萬輛車。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        排放門丑聞幾乎籠罩著我在沃爾夫斯堡的所有對話,而高管們也在反思其中的細節,表達了他們的震驚和羞愧,同時還描述了他們走出危機并改造大眾的計劃。

        希爾楚德·維爾納說:“這是自二戰以來德國最嚴重的工業丑聞,它將成為公司歷史中永遠抹不去的一個污點。”希爾楚德于去年加入公司,負責誠信和法律事務,是大眾管理委員會唯一的女性。她還指出,“丑聞的嚴重程度可謂是前所未有。”

        財務上付出的代價一樣很大。目前大眾已經賠付300億美元,數字肯定會增加,相當于“業績很好時三年總收入,但業績并不是每年都很好。”技術總監艾希霍恩表示。“公司做出這樣的事我覺得很丟臉。”

        雖然沃爾夫斯堡的大眾總部各種反思,有個問題一直存在:雖說晚了點,但公司已經迅速轉向綠色科技,能不能借此重塑自身維持巨大的影響力,還是會跟傳統汽車工業的商業模式一樣穩步下滑?

        Dieselgate overshadowed almost every conversation I had in Wolfsburg, as executives pored over its details, described their shock and embarrassment, and outlined their plans to exit the crisis and remake Volkswagen.

        “This is the worst industrial scandal in Germany since World War II,” says Hiltrud Werner, who joined the company last year to take charge of integrity and legal affairs and is the sole woman on Volkswagen’s board of management. “This will stay with the history of this company forever,” she adds. “It has a magnitude that we have not seen before.”

        The financial cost has been mammoth as well: The $30 billion paid out so far—a figure that is sure to rise further—equals “the money we make in three good years, and we don’t always have good years,” says technology chief Eichhorn. “I am ashamed that my company did this.”

        For all the soul-searching in Wolfsburg, however, one question remains: Now that the company is rushing—belatedly—to embrace green technology, can it remake itself quickly enough to retain its enormous clout, or will it steadily decline, along with the old-style business models of traditional automakers?

        大眾董事會唯一一位女成員,希爾特魯德·維爾納。Courtesy of Volkswagen

        目前復蘇的跡象看起來還不錯。大眾銷售和收入創下新紀錄。就在丑聞爆發一年后的2016年,大眾取代豐田成為全球汽車銷量最高的制造商。但從加州到中國還有很多更年輕也更靈活的競爭對手拼命追趕,還不受死板規矩限制,而且跟大眾一樣,各家公司都希望開創新時代的汽車行業。

        諷刺的是,大眾成功最大的希望也來自丑聞,因為丑聞刺激大眾直面深層次的缺陷并認清現實,如果持續不變將面臨嚴峻威脅。

        2015年7月,迪斯離開寶馬加入大眾,就在排放門曝光兩個月前。大眾招徠他主要是希望獲得新想法和技術戰略,并借鑒他之前在寶馬削減成本的經驗。加入之后他的職責卻變成大力破除舊習慣并打造新的文化。“我非常確定,由于行業里發生的事情,公司必須改變。”迪斯說。“但柴油排放危機加快了變革進程。”

        剛開始大眾對排放門的反應不太緊迫,也沒太在意。2015年9月18日,美國環保署官員沒有通知大眾就在華盛頓召開新聞發布會,并宣布了近期最大的企業欺詐行為之一。位于4000英里外沃爾夫斯堡的高管們措手不及。他們派出長期擔任首席執行官馬丁·溫特科恩用德語在電視上生硬地發表了一份類似道歉的聲明,他將排放丑聞稱為“少數人犯下的錯誤”,卻對公司的責任輕描淡寫。幾天后溫特科恩辭職,今年5月,他在底特律因涉嫌誤導美國公眾遭到起訴。

        丑聞爆發時,迪斯正在西班牙度假,當時他已是大眾汽車管理委員會成員。他等了一整天才飛回家。“當時我并不知道事情會發展成什么樣,也不知道會付出多少代價。”他說。 “唉,別提了。”

        令人驚訝的是,排放作弊曝光純屬偶然,當時一群西弗吉尼亞大學的研究生在洛杉磯附近駕駛大眾車輛上下高速公路,記錄車尾排放數據。他們本意不是檢測違規行為,只是個簡單的研究項目。但按照大眾工程師設計的方案,排放只在比較測試期間達標,符合美國大多數州要求。所以學生們偶然揭發出一樁國際丑聞。

        他們把測試結果交給加州和聯邦官員時,眾人皆驚。大眾汽車的業務嚴重依賴柴油車,數年里向美國人吹噓環保新型“清潔柴油”。事實上更像是賣狗皮膏藥。美國調查人員透露,沃爾夫斯堡的管理人員曾阻止內部提出排放作弊的問題,提出質疑的工程師都被要求保持沉默繼續照做。美國當局將數據跟大眾對質時,大眾表示毫不知情。

        然而除了沃爾夫斯堡自我封閉的小世界,汽車行業其他高管心里都很清楚。業內巨頭不僅犯下刑事罪行,還對后果漠不關心。

        “當時我在想,天吶,這些家伙居然這么天真?”現任大眾集團戰略高級副總裁的托馬斯·塞德蘭回憶起丑聞爆發時稱。當時賽德蘭擔任雪佛蘭歐洲公司的董事總經理,2015年年底加入大眾,協助在排放門之后重塑公司形象。“為什么他們覺得撒謊沒什么問題,還相信不會被抓住?”一天下午他坐在沃爾夫斯堡的辦公室里說,大眾仍然深陷丑聞困境。 “被抓住之后還是撒謊。真搞不懂。”

        問題的答案不在于企業貪婪,也沒有誤解外國法律。根據許多內部人士和外界人士的說法,問題根源在于大眾內部異常保守和嚴格的等級文化,數十年間從大眾總部孕育而成。沃爾夫斯堡約有75,000人在大眾工作,超過該鎮居民人數一半。

        幾十年來,大眾汽車一直受領導人把控,領導講話不容質疑,其專橫風格在德國擁有巨大的政治影響力。德國總理安吉拉·默克爾就不止一次代表大眾干預法規,包括可能控制柴油氮氧化物排放的歐盟法規,在美國也一樣。

        So far, the signs of a recovery look good. Volkswagen is generating record sales and revenues; it overtook Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker by sales volume in 2016, the year after the scandal broke. Even so, competitors from California to China—younger, more agile, less hidebound by rigid structures—are nipping at its heels and, just like Volkswagen, are racing to build a new-age auto industry.

        Ironically, Volkswagen’s best hope for success springs from the scandal itself, which forced the automaker to confront its deep flaws and to conclude that it faces severe threats if it remains unchanged.

        Diess arrived at Volkswagen from BMW AG in July 2015, two months before -Dieselgate exploded. He was lured to Volkswagen specifically to inject new ideas and technology strategies, and to cut costs, as he had done at BMW. Now he is charged with taking a wrecking ball to old habits and creating a new culture in its place. “I was already quite sure this company had to change because of what was happening in the industry,” says Diess. “But the diesel crisis has accelerated our change process quite considerably.”

        Volkswagen’s initial response to Dieselgate was not so urgent or inspired. On Sept. 18, 2015, EPA officials called a press conference in Washington, without alerting Volkswagen beforehand, and announced one of the biggest corporate frauds of recent times. Executives in Wolfsburg, 4,000 miles away, were caught off guard. They dispatched longtime CEO Martin Winterkorn to deliver a stilted half–apology on television, in German, in which he blamed “the mistakes of only a few” and downplayed the company’s responsibility. Winterkorn resigned days later, and in May of this year, he was indicted in Detroit for having misled the U.S. over the cheating.

        Diess, who already sat on Volkswagen’s board of management, was relaxing on vacation in Spain when the scandal broke, and he waited a full day before flying home. “At that time, I did not have any idea of how it was going to end up, or how much it would cost,” he says. “No, no.”

        Amazingly, the cheating was uncovered by sheer happenstance, when a group of graduate students from West Virginia University rode Volkswagen vehicles around Los Angeles, hopping on and off freeways, and recorded emissions on gear they had rigged up in the back. They had no expectation of finding wrongdoing; it was a simple study project. But Volkswagen’s engineers had devised the scheme to display good emission levels only during controlled tests, of the kind that most states in the U.S. require. And so the students stumbled on an international scandal.

        When they brought their results to California and U.S. officials, there was a stunned response. Volkswagen, whose business depended heavily on diesel cars, had spent years boasting to Americans about its eco-friendly new “clean diesel.” In fact, it was more like selling snake oil. U.S. investigators revealed that managers in Wolfsburg had sought to stifle internal questions about emissions cheating, and that engineers who raised concerns were told to keep quiet and carry on. When U.S. authorities confronted Volkswagen with the data, it denied all knowledge.

        To auto executives outside the hermetic world of Wolfsburg, the implications were clear. A global giant of their industry had not only acted criminally but also appeared blithely unconcerned about the consequences.

        “I thought, Jesus Christ, how naive are these guys?” says Thomas Sedran, now Volkswagen’s senior vice president for group strategy, recalling the moment the scandal broke. Sedran was managing director of Chevrolet Europe at the time and was recruited by Volkswagen in late 2015 to help reshape the company in the wake of Dieselgate. “Why did they think it was okay to cheat and believe they would not get caught?” he says, sitting in his Wolfsburg office late one afternoon, still flummoxed by the scandal. “And even when they were caught, they still lied about it. I don’t get it.”

        The answer to Sedran’s question lay not in corporate greed nor in misunderstanding foreign laws. According to many insiders and outsiders, the problem was Volkswagen’s unusually insular and rigidly hierarchical culture, which had been bred over the decades within Wolfsburg, where about 75,000 people—more than half the town’s residents—work for the company.

        Volkswagen had for decades been dominated by leaders whose word was unquestioned and whose imperious style held huge political sway in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel has more than once intervened on Volkswagen’s behalf to dilute regulations—including EU rules that might have reined in diesel’s nitrogen oxide emissions, as they do in the U.S.

        打造甲殼蟲:1953年在大眾沃爾夫斯堡工廠裝配線上的甲殼蟲。Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

        沃爾夫斯堡的存在主要因為政治,而大眾又能主導政治。當年納粹開創這個小鎮當成理想工廠原因是地處德國中部,勞動力充足。現在工廠則占據了整座小鎮,鎮上交通堵塞的時間都跟組裝線排班保持一致。甲級聯隊大眾足球隊(德國叫Fussball)隊員在公司建的體育場里比賽。Autostadt是大眾于2000年開放的汽車展示和主題公園,旋轉展示展品,而且全年都有文化活動,包括音樂會和夏季國際馬戲節等。

        在采訪中,專家和公司內部人士都認為丑聞與大眾的僵化文化有關,中層管理人員和低級別工人不愿質疑上級的決策,包括排放測試作弊的決策。

        “開會時,每個人都在等待老板說話。”維爾納接著說,其他德國公司也有這種傾向。她說,大眾汽車內部缺乏多樣性,尤其是性別方面,也加強了官僚化趨勢。我問她作為管理委員會中唯一女性是什么體驗時,她比作在國外。“出國時必須學習當地人的語言才能生存。她說。“所以,我得學習男人的語言才能生存。”她偶爾也會主動推進會議,好讓其他人認真對待她的意見。“有時我必須強調,我在這行已經干了27年。”她說。 “我跟他們一樣,汽車的基因流淌在血液里。”

        20世紀60年代以來,負責監督大眾董事會的車監事會結構從未改變。下薩克森州政府(沃爾夫斯堡所在地)的當地高級官員持有20%股份,對許多戰略決策有否決權。創立公司的皮耶希和保時捷兩大家族也有永久代表,還有一半成員來自工會;根據德國法律,公司董事會必須有工人代表。

        行業分析師認為,正因為董事會結構長期不變,大眾員工人數才會達到64萬之多,跟豐田產能差不多,人卻多出了約三分之一。2016年,大眾勞工代表和當地政界人士與管理層長期談判后,終于同意允許全球裁員3萬人。 “認真分析就會發現,大眾內部效率極低。”倫敦Evercore ISI全球汽車研究主管阿恩特·埃林霍斯特說,本世紀初他曾在大眾總部當管理培訓生。 “公司管理有很大提升空間。”埃林霍斯特在今年5月給投資者的研究報告中寫道,“大眾公司結構過于老舊,非常影響股東的看法。”

        曾研究排放門事件的人們表示,過時的公司結構也是大眾汽車出問題的關鍵原因。“根源在于,一些不稱職的人受到不良的公司文化縱容。”美國司法部前副部長拉里·D·湯普森說,2017年4月司法部任命他擔任大眾汽車獨立監察員。作為大眾汽車與美國政府和解方案的一部分,湯普森帶領約60人的團隊在認真監督沃爾夫斯堡內部改革。他說,公司文化“不鼓勵職業經理人誠實地講出知道的問題,也不鼓勵懷疑現狀。”

        持續數十年根深蒂固的習慣改變起來是個漫長的過程。“思維方式要轉變。”迪斯說。“很多人只關注公司前五號人物,甚至只關注首席執行官的意見。要讓人們相信所有人都要承擔風險和責任,具備主人翁精神,其實并不容易。”

        不過分析師認為,迪斯可能是改變大眾汽車的最佳人選,特別是跟很多思維固化的人相比,他想法還算靈活。“他對大眾汽車極其重要。”埃林霍斯特說。“這是個巨大的機會。人們相信他可以強力推動變革。”倫敦J.P.摩根汽車股研究員何塞·阿蘇門迪表示贊同,稱迪斯是“德國汽車業最佳首席執行官”。

        各種跡象表明變化正在發生。有些不太明顯,比如同事之間稱呼對方時開始用德語里非正式代詞du而不是更正式的Sie。最近大眾汽車還發布了首個公司行為準則,其中包括人權、性別平等和環境保護等規定。

        ?

        Wolfsburg’s very existence is owed to politics, and VW dominates the landscape. The Nazis created the town as an ideal factory site, since it sat in central Germany with plentiful labor. Today, the factory dominates the town, with traffic jams timed to shift changes on the assembly line. A first-division Volkswagen soccer (or Fussball, in German) team plays in the company-built stadium. The Autostadt—a showcase and theme park of cars, with rotating exhibits, which Volks-wagen opened in 2000—runs year-round cultural programs, including concerts and an international circus festival in the summer.

        In interviews, experts and company insiders draw a direct connection between the scandal and Volkswagen’s rigid culture, in which mid-level managers and low-level workers were reluctant to question their superiors’ decisions, including the decision to cheat on emissions tests.

        “In meetings, everyone is holding back and waiting for the boss to say something,” says Werner, adding that the tendency is found in other German companies too. At Volkswagen, she says, the lack of diversity, including in gender, reinforces that tendency. When I ask her what it is like to be the only woman on the management board, she likens it to being in a foreign country. “When you go abroad, you have to learn the language of the locals to survive,” she says. “So I have to learn the language of the men to survive.” That, she says, includes occasionally pushing in meetings for her views to be taken seriously. “I have to make it clear to them sometimes that I have also worked for 27 years in the industry,” she says. “I have fuel in my blood, just like they do.”

        The structure of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, which oversees the board of managers, has remained unchanged since the 1960s. Top local officials from the Lower Saxony government (where Wolfsburg is situated) hold a 20% share, with veto power over many strategic decisions. There is also permanent representation from the Pi?ch and Porsche families, who founded the company, and half the members are from workers’ councils; under German law, company boards must include worker representation.

        Industry analysts believe the unchanged board structure is one explanation for Volkswagen’s giant workforce of 640,000 people—about one-third bigger than Toyota’s for almost equal output. After long negotiations with management, in 2016 Volkswagen’s labor representatives and local politicians finally agreed to allow the company to cut 30,000 jobs worldwide. “When you analyze it, it is extremely inefficient,” says Arndt Ellinghorst, head of global automotive research at Evercore ISI in London, who was a management trainee at Volkswagen headquarters in the early 2000s. “It should be far better run.” In a research report to investors in May, Ellinghorst wrote that “VW’s outdated corporate structure remains a major burden to shareholder sentiment.”

        That structure is also one key factor in what went wrong at Volks-wagen, say those who have examined the Dieselgate affair. “What occurred was the combination of some bad people and a bad culture,” says Larry D. Thompson, a former deputy U.S. attorney general, whom the Department of Justice appointed in April 2017 as the independent monitor of Volkswagen. As part of the com-pany’s legal settlement with the U.S. government, Thompson’s team of about 60 people now scrutinizes the internal reforms in Wolfsburg. The company culture, he says, “discouraged professional managers from speaking honestly about problems they knew about or suspected were going on.”

        Overhauling decades of ingrained habits will be a long process. “We need a change in the mindset,” Diess says. “Many people were focused on what was said by the top five people or probably by the CEO himself. To convince them that they have to take risks, responsibility, ownership—that is not easy.”

        Still, analysts think Diess might have the best shot of anyone at changing Volkswagen, especially considering that compared with company lifers, he is an outsider. “He is unbelievably important for Volkswagen,” Ellinghorst says. “It is a huge opportunity. The trust is he will drive change in a very forceful manner.” José Asumendi, auto equity researcher at J.P. Morgan in London, agrees, calling Diess “the best CEO of the auto industry in Germany.”

        There are signs everywhere that changes are underway. Some are subtle, like colleagues beginning to address each other with the German informal pronoun du rather than the formal Sie. Recently, Volkswagen issued its first companywide code of conduct, with guidelines that include human rights, gender equality, and environmental protection.

        為人民自動化:20世紀30年代納粹選擇沃爾夫斯堡作為大眾汽車總部,因為靠近大量勞動力。現在沃爾夫斯堡一半人口在大眾汽車工作,但汽車裝配線越來越自動化。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        誠信主管維爾納發起了一場宣傳新價值觀的運動,即包括公開談論問題。6月下旬一個早晨,我乘上她倡導的“誠信公交車”,一輛涂裝鮮艷的大客車,每個月她都邀請員工乘車在沃爾夫斯堡工廠周圍開一小時。此舉主要為了讓員工相對客觀地對高管成員表達不滿和焦慮,這對大眾來說就是個比較新的概念。這天早上,公交車上坐滿了技術工程師,都因排放門受到同事“責罵”。“每次去食堂,都讓人感覺他們就是害公司賠償250億歐元的人。”維爾納說。“這種情況并不容易處理。”在車上,有名男員工說聽到外界對公司嚴厲指責之后感到很不安。維爾納告訴他公司正在變化,而且沒有“回頭路”,不過她也強調“可持續變革需要一個生命周期。”

        無論轉型最終需要多久,迪斯深信未來十年動蕩中大眾汽車保持增長至關重要。“死守舊的公司文化很難生存,以前過于依靠總部,依靠核心決策。”他表示。“如果同樣的問題要問很多遍,速度肯定很慢。”

        在沃爾夫斯堡小鎮,大眾汽車的等級文化正在轉變,盡管速度緩慢。在瘦長健談而且精力十足的迪斯帶領下變化,這位首席執行官的口頭禪包括“分享”和“合作”,正悄悄加入討論公司變化的談話中。

        迪斯主導重大改組計劃時,部分工作就是將迷宮式架構分為四大產品線:普通、優質、豪華(大眾旗下高端車型有賓利和布加迪),還有卡車和公共汽車拆分為獨立公司,最快明年就能上市。12個品牌都在部門內部匯集集中創意,做出各種決策,不用為了老板認可相互競爭。用迪斯的話來說,公司新架構不僅可以改變“思維方式”,而且最終目標是削減數十億美元開支。

        機構精簡的推進情況對于大眾汽車能否實現激進轉型至關重要,也決定了大眾能否成為全球電動汽車領域的主要參與者。

        轉型電動汽車計劃非常龐大,令人眼花繚亂,而且花費顯然不菲。今年5月迪斯告訴股東,未來四年內投資近400億美元生產電動汽車。大眾汽車的目標是,到2025年出產汽車中四分之一都是電動汽車,每年達數百萬輛,在全球電動汽車市場份額占10%到15%。這意味著未來四年大眾汽車在全球有16家工廠要轉型或擴建,其中有一家在美國,五家在中國。首席技術官艾希霍恩表示,十年內大眾汽車需要至少六家新電池工廠,每家規模都與埃隆·馬斯克在內華達州550萬平方英尺的Gigafactory工廠相當,馬斯克的工廠主要為特斯拉生產電池。“我們希望成為電動車技術領域的領導者,跟之前在內燃機領域一樣。”艾希霍恩表示。

        Werner, as the integrity chief, has launched a campaign to spread the word about new values—including the ability to speak openly about problems. One morning in late June, I hopped aboard her “integrity bus,” a bright-painted motor coach she fills once a month with invited employees, for an hour-long drive around the Wolfsburg campus. The idea is for them to air grievances and anxieties on neutral ground, with a member of senior management—a relatively new concept at Volks-wagen. On this morning, the bus is filled with technical engineers, whom Werner says have been “stigmatized” among colleagues for being responsible for Dieselgate. “They cannot go into the canteen without people feeling they were the ones who made us pay 25 billion [euros],” she says. “That is not easy to deal with.” On board, one man says he is troubled by the strong criticisms he hears about the company. Werner tells him the company is changing and is at “a point of no return,” but she also tells him “it will take a life cycle to have sustainable change.”

        However long the transformation takes, Diess is convinced that it is crucial for Volkswagen to keep growing through the industry’s tumultuous next decade. “It will be very difficult to survive with this kind of company culture, relying very heavily on headquarters, with central decisions,” he says. “You ask many times the same questions. You get slow.”

        In small-town Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s hierarchical culture is shifting, albeit slowly. In the hands of Diess—lanky and chatty, with a kinetic energy—the CEO’s buzzwords like “sharing” and “cooperation” now creep into conversations about how life is changing in the company.

        As part of a major reorganization, Diess has grouped the labyrinthine company into four categories: volume, premium, luxury (Volkswagen owns high-end Bentley and Bugatti), and trucks and buses, which will be spun off as a separate entity, with an IPO perhaps as soon as next year. Each of the 12 brands is now expected to pool ideas within its group, making a broad range of decisions rather than competing among themselves for the boss’s approval. Not only will the new organization change “the mindset,” to use Diess’s term, but also it is aimed at cutting billions in expenses.

        That leaner operation is critical if Volkswagen has a shot at succeeding in its most radical transformation ever: becoming a major global player in electric cars.

        The scale of the electric plan is dizzying—and won’t come cheap. In May, Diess told shareholders that the company intends to invest nearly $40 billion into producing electric cars within the next four years. By 2025, Volkswagen aims to have one–quarter of the vehicles it produces be electric—millions of cars a year—and to have a 10% to 15% share of the electric-car market globally. That will require converting or expanding 16 factories around the world within four years, including one in the U.S. and five in China. Eichhorn, the CTO, says Volkswagen will also need at least six new battery factories within a decade, each of them the size of Elon Musk’s 5.5-million-square-foot Gigafactory facility in Nevada, which produces batteries for Tesla. “We want to be the technology leader in this, just as we were the technology leader in the combustion engine,” Eichhorn says.

        展望未來:位于波茨坦的大眾未來中心歐洲研發實驗室,設計師借助虛擬現實技術將概念可視化。Photograph by Frank Schinski for Fortune

        事實上,大眾汽車是在努力彌補失去的時間。遭受排放門重創后,大眾汽車于2016年推出電動車戰略,此時距馬斯克創立特斯拉已過去13年。 “如果沒有柴油危機,大眾汽車就不會有電動車平臺。”塞德蘭說。“單從財務方面看的話,轉型電動車并不是個好主意。由于我們在財務上很成功,所以意識到這點太遲了。”

        思想變化可謂翻天覆地。雖然大眾汽車動作很晚,但迪斯認為只要投資足夠,大眾可以利用數十年的傳統汽車制造經驗超越競爭對手。“我們有經銷商渠道,還有市場。”他說。談到與特斯拉相比時,他表示“希望為數百萬人制造電動汽車,而不僅僅是百萬富翁。把某款汽車銷量從一萬輛增加到一百萬輛?我們在每個國家都能做到。”

        大眾汽車新項目里,有不少曾遭董事會否決的想法,比如明年大眾將在德國多個城市推出共享電動車計劃,2020年將推廣到全球各地。6月下旬我抵達沃爾夫斯堡時,大眾的經理們興奮不已。因為前些日子在科羅拉多落基山舉辦的Broadmoor Pikes Peak拉力賽上,名叫I.D. R Pikes Peak的大眾定制版電動車在不到8分鐘的比賽中獲勝。“人們對電動汽車一直抱有巨大懷疑,但我們贏了!”大眾汽車品牌首席戰略官邁克爾·喬斯特激動地說。

        由于起步比較晚,現在大眾汽車也在關注電動汽車之后的新趨勢:自動駕駛汽車。迪斯認為,距自動駕駛汽車面世可能只有幾年時間,印度或中國新崛起的城市可能最先出現。

        In reality, Volkswagen is racing to make up for lost time. It only launched its electric strategy in 2016 in the disastrous aftermath of Dieselgate—13 years after Musk founded Tesla. “Without the diesel crisis, Volkswagen would not have an electric platform,” Sedran says. “Just on the financials, it is not a good idea. We would have realized too late, blinded by our financial success.”

        The thinking has changed drastically. While Volkswagen is late, Diess believes that with enough investment, VW can leverage its decades of producing fuel-burning cars to overtake its competitors. “We have the dealerships, the markets,” he says. In comparison to Tesla, he says, “we want to make e-cars for millions, not just for millionaires. Ramping up a car from 10,000 to a million? We can do that in every country in the world.”

        Among Volkswagen’s new projects are ideas the board once rejected, like an electric car–sharing scheme the company is launching next year in German cities before going global in 2020. And when I arrived in Wolfsburg in late June, managers were buzzing with excitement over the Broadmoor Pikes Peak rally that had taken place in the Colorado Rockies days before, where Volkswagen’s custom-made electric car, called I.D. R Pikes Peak, won the race in under eight minutes. “There has been big skepticism about EVs—and we won!” cooed Michael Jost, chief strategy officer for the VW brand.

        Having been caught behind the curve, the company is now focusing on what comes after electric vehicles: driverless cars. Diess believes autonomous vehicles are probably only a few years away, perhaps beginning in newly built cities in India or China.

        位于波茨坦的歐洲大眾未來中心,汽車設計總監彼得·沃達(左)與設計趨勢中心主管維蕾娜·托馬斯(中間)和喬治·博格曼(右)探討新設計理念。Courtesy of Volkswagen

        看似空想的概念確實已進入設計階段。Autostadt展廳里有個未來主義的城市模型,車主在辦公室里忙工作,另一邊移動機器人在停車場四處移動給汽車充電。這是大眾汽車與德國機器人制造商KUKA合作研究的創意。 “對我們來說是個全新的世界,”迪斯說。“問題是我們能不能做到迅速應用新技術,變得更像軟件公司?”

        各種很棒當然也很昂貴的發明目前還不是大眾汽車的核心業務,但經歷了焦慮的三年之后給公司注入了不少樂觀情緒。“我們有很多新想法。”大眾汽車研究部執行董事阿克塞爾·海因里希興奮地告訴我。有天下午,他帶我穿過大樓,介紹了大眾600名科學家和工程師當中幾位給我認識。他們的發明包括用廢棄的香蕉葉和蘑菇根制成汽車座椅,不再使用動物原料,此外還有適合儀表板的數字“貼心助手”。研究人員稱,該助手可在司機駕駛時完成復雜的雙向對話。

        在柏林西部的波茨坦,歐洲大眾未來中心(北京和硅谷還有另外兩家)推出了真實尺寸的未來汽車模型,由泡沫塑料制成,還裝配了自動駕駛汽車SEDRIC的改裝版。“我們談論的是未來,而且不只一種未來。”運營該中心的汽車設計師彼得·沃達說,他向我展示了搭建的新虛擬現實平臺,幾秒內就可以調整設計。“在遙遠的未來”,沃達表示,“大多數人都不會真正擁有汽車。”

        當“遙遠的未來”到來時,迪斯希望大眾汽車除了汽車制造商,還是家科技公司。轉型工作才剛剛開始,而且隨著排放門之后努力重建信譽徐徐展開。“我們失去了很多客戶的信任,”迪斯說。“重建需要時間。”與此同時,全新形象的大眾正努力加速駛向未來。(財富中文網)

        本文另一版本刊載于2018年8月1日《財富》雜志上,標題為《大眾汽車大重建背后》。

        譯者:Ms

        Concepts that seem fanciful are, in fact, already in the design phase. In an exhibition hall in the Autostadt, a scale model of a futuristic city shows mobile robots that zoom around parking lots, recharging cars while their owners are running errands or in the office—an idea that Volkswagen is already working on with German robot manufacturer KUKA. “It is a totally new world for us,” Diess says. “The question is, Can we adopt the new technology fast enough, becoming more of a software company?”

        These whiz-bang inventions—costly, and for now not Volkswagen’s core business—have injected optimism after three angst-filled years. “We have a lot to show you,” Axel Heinrich, executive director of Volkswagen’s research department, tells me excitedly, as he leads me through the building one afternoon, introducing me to some of Volks-wagen’s 600 scientists and engineers. Among their inventions are car-seat leather made from discarded banana leaves and mushroom roots rather than from animals, and digital “empathic assistants” that fit onto the dashboard and are, say the researchers, capable of conducting complex two-way conversations while you drive.

        In Potsdam, west of Berlin, the Volkswagen Future Center Europe (there are two others, in Beijing and Silicon Valley) turns out full-size Styrofoam models of future cars, including adapted versions of SEDRIC, the company’s self-driving vehicle. “We talk about futures, plural,” says Peter Wouda, a car designer who runs the center, as he shows me the new virtual reality platform they have built, allowing them to tweak new designs within seconds. In the “far future,” Wouda says, “most people will not own a car.”

        By the time that “far future” arrives, Diess hopes Volkswagen will be as much a tech company as an automaker. The work of transforming the company has only just begun—and is unfolding as it tries to regain its credibility after Dieselgate. “We have lost a lot of confidence of our customers,” Diess says. “I think it will take time.” In the meantime, the new VW is speeding toward that future as fast as it can.

        A version of this article appears in the August 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Inside VW’s Big Fix-It Job.”

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