Report: VW’s 10 Year Plan Diminishes Audi’s Role as Engineering Hub

We’ve been covering VW’s proposed cooperation with Ford pretty closely over the past few weeks, but now it looks like it might just be a part of a bigger picture that sees Audi’s role as engineering hub seriously diminished.

Volkswagen will release a 10-year plan on November 16 and Automotive News reports that it will focus on slashing costs and inefficiencies. One of the important steps in that plan will be partnering with other automakers (such as Ford) to spread out the cost of engineering new, more efficient vehicles and electric vehicles.

On that last score, VW is particularly focused. Matthias Mueller, the first post-Dieselgate CEO, launched the automaker down a multi-billion dollar rabbit hole to make its own EV chassis and replace diesel sales with EV sales by 2025. In 2017 alone, VW spent $13.1 billion.

Herbert Diess, who replaced Mueller as CEO, has been less optimistic since ascending to the top of the empire. Warning about German automakers being on the precipice and complaining about the cost of designing EVs, Diess seems more focused on the big numbers coming from his accounting department than the ones coming from his engineering department.

The new 10-year plan will go past VW’s Vision 2025 and will have a fine line to walk, trying to keep up with emissions rules and costs.

And so, the plan will seek to cut down on duplicate efforts in R&D within the empire and team up with other companies for everything from engineering to IT to battery cell technology and even driverless tech, which Audi’s A8 claimed to be a leader in.

With Audi working on both hydrogen and electric vehicles, an e-tron that shares little with any other VW brand’s EVs, and Porsche aping designs, Audi’s R&D department may have cause for concern.

Audi’s role as an engineering hub, though, goes back a long way, and its engineers have been blamed for developing the technology that allowed VW to cheat in emissions tests.

And with turmoil at Audi’s highest levels, Diess appears to be centralizing the company, tightening his grip over the empire.

“The pendulum is swinging back in the direction of centralization,” a VW executive told Reuters.

[source: Automotive News]