Audi CEO Plots Broader E-Car Rollout as Overhaul Takes Shape
(Bloomberg) -- Audi AG expects deeper cooperation with sister brands VW and Porsche to start to help lifting returns within 18 months to 2 years, its chief executive officer said, as Volkswagen AG’s premium-car unit trims costs, increases efficiencies and renews its focus on China.
- “We can get better synergies out of the group,” Audi CEO Abraham Schot said in a Bloomberg TV interview ahead of the Geneva auto show.
- Within 24 months, Audi will offer 5 fully-electric and 7 plug-in hybrid cars. The CEO also wants to restore the brand’s technological cachet by switching an existing model line to battery power. He declined to share details to “surprise competitors.”
- Since stepping in after the arrest of his predecessor, Rupert Stadler, Schot has widened an efficiency push at VW group’s largest profit contributor. He aims to save 15 billion euros ($17 billion) by 2022, while orchestrating a broader shakeup to keep Audi from falling further behind luxury rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG.
- Audi plans to ax about one-third of its engine variants, weed out bloated management ranks and avoid expensive night shifts at its main German plant in Ingolstadt.
- Schot sees potential for market-share gains in China amid a broader slowdown that might drag on. He views higher U.S. tariffs as potential challenge, not a threat, and says “we’ll manage.”
- VW CEO and Audi supervisory board Chairman Herbert Diess told Bloomberg TV last month he’s confident Audi’s new management team has the right strategy in place, but cautioned about coming challenges in 2019.
- Audi is showing the Q4 E-Tron design concept in Geneva as it boosts its lineup of plug-in hybrid cars to meet stricter emission rules. Partly battery-powered versions of the Q5 SUV, the A6, A7 and flagship A8 will be on display. Schot said Audi is also considering a hybrid version of the Q8 SUV.
- The brand accounts for 28 percent of VW’s group operating profit before special items in the first nine months of 2018.
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