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For as long as I’ve been writing about Volkswagen AG, the German carmaker’s lousy stock-market valuation has been a topic of conversation that doesn’t lead anywhere.

In a normal year VW sells more than 10 million vehicles and has a stable of prestige brands that would be the envy of any motoring enthusiast. Yet its market capitalization is just 90 billion euros ($109 billion), a fraction of Tesla Inc.’s.

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