Despite bearing one of most storied names in automotive history, the family, which controls 52 percent of VW’s voting shares via a company called Porsche Automobil Holding SE, wasn’t prepared for a challenge like the diesel crisis. Bound by a tradition of consensus and discretion honed during their privileged upbringing along the German-Austrian border, family members have remained virtually mum. That has left a power vacuum even as VW faces costs that could top $30 billion and become a hit to its reputation that risks eroding sales and profits for years.
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