Volkswagen chief apologises for use of phrase similar to a Nazi slogan

Lloyd Doyle
March 17, 2019

Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess apologized for his use of a phrase that appeared to play on a Nazi-era slogan, "Work sets you free".

EBIT is an acronym for Earnings Before Interest and Tax, a key indicator of a company's profit. "In fact, it was a very unfortunate choice of words and if I had unintentionally hurt feelings with it, I am extremely sorry". "I would like to apologize unreservedly".

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has apologised for comments made which appeared to play on a Nazi-era slogan, capping a rough week for the automaker battling a U.S. government lawsuit.

Herbert Diess used the pun "EBIT macht frei" during a speech at the firm's management gathering on Tuesday. Within the Volkswagen Group, "brands with a higher margins have more freedom within the Group to make their own decisions".

"It was in no way my intention to put this statement in a false context", Diess wrote on LinkedIn on Wednesday.


Volkswagen was founded in 1937 by the German government with a mandate to mass-produce affordable vehicles.

He said he and Volkswagen employees are keenly aware of Volkswagen's history with the Third Reich.

Volkswagen's first factory was built in 1938 in Wolfsburg by the Nazi party.

"The statement of the CEO Herbert Diess is in this context considered inappropriate and hard to comprehend", VW's supervisory board said Friday, adding that it "strongly distances itself from this, but at the same time takes note of the immediate apology from Mr. Diess".

VW's powerful works council welcomed Diess's "swift clarification and unequivocal apology" for the remark, adding that remembrance and responsibility are part of the company's DNA. In a separate email to Business Insider, Volkswagen called the case "legally and factually flawed, and Volkswagen will contest it vigorously".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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