German multinational automotive manufacturing company Volkswagen AG is reportedly in a position to overtake the U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. VW Ag could take the lead in the electric vehicle industry in terms of software development, as well as in manufacturing numbers of electric vehicles. This is according to VW Ag Chairman Bernd Osterloh.
In a recent interview with Welt am Sonntag (via Europe Auto News), the VW AG Council Chairman is confident that while Tesla aims to produce between 900,000 and 1.5 million electric vehicles from its three factories averaging 300,000 to 500,000 cars, VW could also achieve the same by 2023 or even earlier. Volkswagen's modular electric-drive matrix platform offers the auto manufacturer a massive advantage since it is capable of building vehicles of any brand, Osterloh added.
Apart from this, the council chairman is also optimistic that the Artemis engineering task force working under Audi CEO Markus Duesmann could also catch up with the technological advantage of Tesla. Osterloh believes that the latest Car Software Organization (CSO), where all automakers' software operations are bundled, is the right step in this path. The council chairman thinks that Tesla's advantage is having cars' software and utilizing it to gather data.
In just a short time, Volkswagen could collect much more data within a short time if it is able to get the system into cars, the council chairman added. In 2018, Volkswagen announced that it would allocate 44 billion euros until 2023 as part of its strategy to reach more than 50 full-electric models by 2025. The council chairman also discounted the possibility of a four-day week at Volkswagen facilities to ensure jobs amidst the increasing shift to electric vehicles, which aside from being easier to build, also requires lesser manpower.
In the interview, Osterloh also shared the existing cost-cutting measure of the company. It includes minimizing the workforce by up to 7,000 through the early retirement of admin staff members at its Wolfsburg facilities. The council chairman believes this was adequate to help the company overcome the crisis caused by the current global health pandemic and other issues.
"At the moment we are not talking about less work," Osterloh said. "With the Golf we had the [production] levels of last year in June and July and introduced extra shifts," he added. "The four-day week is not an issue for us."
It can be recalled that in 2016, VW AG set a cost-reduction initiative called Future Pact. In July, Osterloh was quoted saying that Volkswagen does not deeper cost cuts to fight the effects of the current pandemic. Like all other auto giants in the industry, VW AG is among the companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.