Can Volkswagen Ride Out The Storm?

Image and legal problems could sideswipe its recovery--and CEO

Just a few weeks ago, Ferdinand Piech was riding high. After four years at the wheel, Volkswagen's intense chief executive had driven Europe's largest carmaker out of the ditch and well along the road to recovery. Aggressive pricing and a string of hit products have been grabbing market share both in Europe and the U.S. Profits in the nine months ended Sept. 30 more than doubled, to $305 million on sales of $49 billion. The company's stock was soaring to $410 a share, close to its all-time high.

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