The unit, which shares little or no overlap with the manufacturer's other divisions, will change its legal structure to prepare its access to capital markets, VW said in a separate statement. For years, Volkswagen lied through its teeth to regulators and customers both at home and overseas about how clean its diesel cars were.
Reuters reported that the proposed change comes as current VW Group CEO Mathias Muller is about to be replaced by Herbert Diess in a move created to speed up reform and restructuring in the vast company.
64-year-old Mr Mueller, always a reluctant CEO who had grown tired of the regular grillings by board members, responded during the talks by signalling he was prepared to step aside, they said.
Mr Mueller, a company veteran, was installed at short notice in 2015, a week after the company admitted to cheating United States diesel emission tests, prompting criticism from some investors who said that only an outsider could rebuild trust in the business.
Mueller, a former chief executive of sportscar-building VW subsidiary Porsche AG, was brought in to replace Martin Winterkorn in 2015 and was contracted to serve until 2020.
Sanford Bernstein analyst Max Warburton said Diess' track record of cost-cutting points to a more efficient VW under his leadership. That project became much more urgent as the diesel scandal generated massive costs, and meant taking on established interest groups.
"Diess will hold both positions, CEO of the company and the VW brand", one of the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Karlheinz Blessing, head of human resources, has been replaced by Gunnar Kilian, secretary-general of VW's works council, which represents employees.
Diess currently heads the firm's namesake Volkswagen division, but now takes over a larger parent company that owns brands including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini. He then took charge of development, but was ultimately passed over for the CEO job, when the Munich-based company picked Harald Krueger in December 2014. The scandal has cost the company over $30 billion. That spurred his move to Volkswagen.
Today's announcement comes after VW directors said it could replace the group's CEO as part of a wider shake-up in management and strategy.