VW's Piech Is Out. Bottom Lines Are In.

The auto industry is done with ego and romance. Now it's all about the money.

What's old is new again.

Photographer: Volker Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images

Under any circumstances, the departure of Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech would have been a tectonic event for the auto industry. Piech's pedigree, experience and legendary ego made him the last of the old-school auto barons; the marriage he arranged between Volkswagen and Porsche reunited the two firms born from his grandfather's most famous vehicles. But that same massive ego -- which willed monumental cars, brands and companies into being -- was also behind Piech's sudden downfall.

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