-- A slowdown in the U.S. and European car markets

-- Nimble archrivals in Europe--PSA Peugeot Citroën, Ford of Europe, and Renault--are closing the quality gap

-- Fierce competition for the Chinese market

-- Luxury auto makers such as BMW and Mercedes are moving downmarket into VW's core segments

-- Icy relations with investors

-- Possible interference from retiring CEO Ferdinand Piëch, who will probably chair the supervisory board

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