Ed speak ■ THE NEXT ISSUE OF EVO WILL BE ON SALE WEDNESDAY 7 SEPTEMBER
HERBERT DIESS IS NO LONGER THE chosen one of the VW Group, his pass to the CEO washroom (and use of the VW private jet) rescinded, handed to Oliver Blume, current CEO of Porsche. There are a number of reasons for Diess getting the tap on the shoulder. Trying to take on Germany’s all-powerful unions. Publicly asking for Ukraine and Russia to come to a quick deal so wiring looms could be delivered to his factories. A mangled analogy referencing Auschwitz. And his unwavering belief that electricity was the only power option for every VW Group car.
You couldn’t fault his commitment – $100bn investment, 10,000 new software engineers to develop an operating system to take on Apple and Google (yes, really) and 25 per cent of all VW Group vehicles to be electric by 2026 and the rest four years later. But those headlinegrabbing figures would come at a cost. A 30 per cent investment reduction in hybrid vehicles and even bigger cuts to developing more efficient ICES for markets that are decades away from supporting an electric car infrastructure. Key markets for VW. And those new jobs? Diess argued 30,000 traditional manufacturing roles could make way for them.
Under Diess, VW was fast backing itself into a corner with a refusal to consider other viable alternatives. While Porsche, under Blume, has invested heavily in synthetic fuels, and VW subsidiary MAN is rapidly developing hydrogen technology, Diess only had eyes for batteries.
He also complained publicly that legacy manufacturers were at a disadvantage because financial markets were only interested in investing in ‘exciting new EV start-ups’ rather than proven legacy successes. He had a point, but that’s not how the markets work. If he wanted to raise funds to deliver his electric dream he should have bought Tesla rather than take it on.
That’s enough of the corporate boardroom stuff. We’re heading to Spa-francorchamps with RSR Spa in October for an evo trackday and we’d love you to join us. To book your space visit evotrackdays.co.uk or scan the QR code on the right.