Vw Figures Its Best Defense May Be A Good Offense

Relaxed and boldly confident, Volkswagen's embattled chief executive, Ferdinand Piech, finally faced off against General Motors Corp. on July 28. Since hiring former GM purchasing czar Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua in March, spokesmen for the German auto giant have fumbled and stonewalled in the face of damaging GM allegations of industrial espionage against Lopez--allegations he denies. But at a packed press conference in VW's hometown of Wolfsburg, Piech charged GM with "mudslinging" and snapped: "We will join in this mudslinging, and we will emerge the victors." He proved his point by implying that GM may have tampered with evidence against Lopez, a charge GM dismisses as "absurd."

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