Innovations, partnerships and visions – those are the catchwords for this year’s Automotive Summit, an event presented by the German newspaper Handelsblatt. As the host, the Volkswagen Group will welcome summit participants to the Autostadt, which is incidentally also the place where Volkswagen customers can pick up their new vehicles.
The motto of this year’s summit is Reset Mobility, which is fitting, given the current ongoing efforts to rethink the topic of mobility. Moreover, 2018 was a turbulent year for the German automotive industry and was characterized by change on the whole. Discussions about conventional powertrains, the increasing interest for vehicles with alternative drives, new mobility services – over the course of three days around 650 participants will address decisive topics of the future and the strategic reorientation for the entire sector.
The conference will be kicked off by an event on the eve of the summit and Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of the Volkswagen brand, will be there to welcome the guests. A further point of discussion on Monday evening will be the conclusions that Germany’s flagship industry should draw as a result of the diesel issue. Other issues to talk about will be which political and economic framework conditions are necessary for the transformation process – participants will include Sigmar Gabriel, the former Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Transformation: Strategies and visions
On Tuesday, also referred to as the “strategists’ day”, Michael Jost, the Volkswagen brand’s chief strategist, will formally kick off the event with a keynote speech, which will then be followed by a podium discussion with Sven Afhüppe, Handelsblatt editor-in-chief.
Tuesday will also feature an interview with the mayor of Chattanooga where one of Volkswagen’s US production facilities is located. Furthermore, Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand responsible for E-Mobility, will address the question of when the breakthrough for e-mobility is expected. There will be an additional interview, this time with Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Development.
The second conference day will take place in keeping with the motto “visionaries’ day” and focus on the future of the new areas of business: How is the automotive sector changing? What will the teams look like? How will the technological visions be implemented throughout the company? This will include a panel discussion featuring Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the General and Group Works Council of the Volkswagen Group, which will address the topic “Vision versus feasibility: Does digitalization fail due to its implementation?”
On Wednesday, additional items on the agenda will include various workshops led by top-notch participants and will look at topics such as software, alternative fuels and design.
The Handelsblatt Automotive Summit is the largest conference of its kind in Germany. The event’s heterogeneous composition allows the transformation of the automotive industry to be examined from different points of view.