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VW Europe: Industrial Espionage, Racketeering Charges and Lopez Resigns


Controversial ex-V.P. Purchasing for GM Jose Ignacio Lopez, who defected to VW in 1993 amid rumors he stole a ton of GM secrets on new cars and plant construction plans, quit VW yesterday as the billion dollar GM vs. VW industrial espionage law suit was coming to a head. GM showed that Lopez--considered by some to be an automotive parts components purchasing genius, considered by others to be a deceitful opportunist cum charmer--brought a coterie of "warriors" with him to VW. They carried 20 boxes of classified GM documents with them for copying and shredding. VW claims they have no knowledge of this, but accepted Lopez's resignation and said they will continue paying him as a consultant. Lopez faces a criminal indictment, and VW will probably settle the suit out of court. The estimate is that it will cost the German carmaker BILLIONS! True, Lopez succeeded in saving both employers millions of dollars via his purchasing methods, but he made a lot of enemies for both companies by telling some suppliers what their competitors prices and specs were all about. He pitted supplier against supplier. This thing is not over yet, and it's shaping up to be a global automotive soap opera with lots of intrigue, lies, suspense and possible prison terms.

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel