Musical Chairs as Volkswagen Flails

Although Volkswagen Group has announced a bold plan to transition all of their vehicles to electric drivetrains, bending reality to fit that plan is another story altogether. As the transition faces setbacks, German Publication “Auto Motor Und Sport” reports that Volkswagen Group executives could be getting ready for a little a game of musical chairs:

At VW there is a personnel rally on the top positions. Porsche boss Blume is to become VW brand boss, Skoda boss Maier changes to Porsche, VW marketing boss Sengpiehl is about to be fired.

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess, who also leads the VW brand in one person wants to get Porsche CEO Oliver Blume Wolfsburg. Auto motor und sport learned this from corporate circles.

Auto Motor Und Sport

This is a little confusing, but here’s my understanding: Volkswagen Group is the big company with all the other sub-brands under it. Diess was CEO of the Volkswagen Group, but was also the head of the Volkswagen brand. So Diess would essentially be firing himself in a way, and putting the CEO of Porsche in charge of the Volkswagen brand while remaining in charge of VW Group. Porsche just launched the Taycan somewhat successfully (sales have been decent for a car in that price range), so why not get their CEO to bring other Volkswagen EVs to market too?

The CEO of Skoda would then be tapped to lead Porsche –– he was previously Porsche’s sales director before becoming the CEO of Skoda, so he has some experience there. In addition Volkswagen would fire their marketing boss, who recently came under fire for a “racist” ad that ran on social media in France.

So why the game of musical chairs?

Blume is to be appointed to the VW brand board to deal with the dramatic problems with the Golf VIII and the ID.3. Diess obviously wants to get out of the line of fire because he is currently responsible for the big problems as VW brand boss. Among other things, VW has to call the new Golf back to the workshops because the eCall emergency assistant is not working reliably, and there are also said to be major production problems, which is why only a third of the new cars are error-free.

Auto Motor Und Sport

Ah, I see. This reminds me of the part of HBO’S Silicon Valley when Gavin Belson realizes Nucleus is going to be a huge failure and tries to pawn the project off on some pour soul.

Volkswagen has bet big and spent billions of dollars on the MEB platform, which underlies the ID.3. If the launch fails, it will be a colossal fuckup –– one that threatens the future of Diess’s career at Volkswagen. Trying to tiptoe out of the way of blame is an understandable act of self-preservation.

Launching the ID.3 won’t be an easy job for Blume. If he succeeds, that could put him closer in line to taking the top job as Volkswagen Group CEO. But if he fails, he’ll have to take the bullet Diess just dodged himself.

Read the full story at Auto Motor Und Sport

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