Volkswagen brand repositions its vehicle development organisation
Pooling responsibility for technology, quality, profitability and deadlines
The Volkswagen brand repositioned its organisation for vehicle development at the beginning of the year. Chairman of the Board of Management Dr Herbert Diess emphazises, "We have to ensure that the corporate responsibility for each vehicle project is clearly assigned. We expect these changes to yield an acceleration boost in development. This step represents a core element of 'New Volkswagen', the new strategic direction of our brand."
Cross-functional collaboration will be strengthened as a result: from the concept to the end of the life-cycle for any given model, the responsibility for technology, quality, cost and deadline compliance, and the responsibility for cost-effectiveness, now clearly lie in one hand for the first time. Until now, these responsibilities were distributed across different divisions and differentiated into individual models groups as well.
The new organisation bundles the competencies into four series groups containing several model series:
1. Small: The small vehicles group such as up! and Polo includes saloon cars as well as small SUVs in future and is headed up by Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert (59), who has led product management for the Volkswagen brand and the Group since 2010.
2. Compact: Also known as the Golf-class group, this group ranges from hatchback and notchback saloon cars and estate cars to SUVs. Karlheinz Hell (52), who has been Group Purchasing Manager for Electrics/ Electronics at Volkswagen since 2014, takes over the management.
3. Mid- and Full-size: This product portfolio ranges from the Passat to the Sharan, and the future mid-size SUV to the Touareg, and is headed up by Dr Elmar-Marius Licharz (45) who has led Product Controlling at Volkswagen AG for Volkswagen brand since 2010.
4. BEV: Battery Electric Vehicles are already present in the brand in the form of e-up!* and e-Golf**. E-vehicles with a greater range will follow in the next step to be developed in this group. The BUDD-e concept car presented at the 2016 CES represents an example of this. The BEV series group is headed up by Christian Senger (41), who comes to Volkswagen from Continental AG, where he led the Automotive Systems and Technology division.
A newly created Strategy and Products Division will also act as a strong partner in supporting each manager responsible for the various series. The responsibilities here will include the definition of life-cycles and coordination of major product events.
"This allows us to provide clear structures and responsibilities, which carve out more time for the workforce to focus on their core tasks. Personal responsibility, initiative and team-spirit will be strengthened as a result," states Dr Herbert Diess, explaining the new structure in its role as a core element for the change in culture at Volkswagen.
At the same time, the concern here is one of adapting to future requirements arising from progressive digitization, electric mobility and changing customer needs. Diess: "The new series organisation allows a robust product portfolio to be created that is fit for the future, because it strengthens cooperation across all functions hence increasing the profitability of the brand."