VW board backs CEO’s reforms; retains Lamborghini and Ducati

16 December 2020 - autocar

VW board backs CEO’s reforms; retains Lamborghini and Ducati

Volkswagen chief executive Herbert Diess has board’s backing in pivot towards increasing electrification; halo brands remain

The Volkswagen Group board has backed the electrification reforms of CEO Herbert Diess, settling a potential boardroom bust-up at Europe’s largest car maker. The announcement also confirms that Lamborghini and Ducati will remain within the group. Both brands had been at risk of being sold off.

There is no word on the fate of Bugatti, which has been linked to a potential sale to electric hypercar manufacturer Rimac.

Further restructuring means that Bentley will, from 1 March 2021, sit under Audi. The British manufacturer is in the process of switching to electrification and Audi’s Project Artemis is a key aspect of this.

Prior to the board’s announcement, Diess had effectively forced a vote of confidence in himself in order to extend his contract beyond 2023 and push through the Together 2025+ strategy. Although there was no announcement about Diess’s contract, VW did concede some key points to Diess, such as confirming Arno Antlitz as the new chief financial officer. Diess was keen to get Antlitz into position, replacing previous CFO Frank Witter.

In addition, the board “unanimously resolved to give its full support to the strategy [of Together 2025+] in particular the orientation of the company towards electromobility and digitalisation,” according to a statement from VW.

A round of cost cutting is also part of the measures announced, with material costs being reduced by 7% over the next two years. The separation of the procurement and component departments is confirmed and VW’s HQ at Wolfsburg will become the electric factory hub for the brand.

As a result, VW’s flagship electric car will be built at Wolfsburg. There is no word in the announcement as to what sort of car that could be, but development and production will be similar to the principles of Audi’s Artemis Project, in the hope of increasing efficiencies during the R&D stages.

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