- The director of the VW plant in Wolfsburg, Stefan Loth, is being transferred to Zwickau by the board. Under Loth’s leadership, the start-up of the new Golf failed.
- In his place is Rainer Fessel, currently head of the Seat factory in Martorell.
- The position of the electrical board member will be reduced at the car company, which was previously held by Thomas Ulbrich.
At the largest German car company, Volkswagen, there is a lot going on these days. The car manufacturer is embarking on the electrified future and wants to equip large parts of its new cars with appropriate drives. According to the will of the Volkswagen brand’s board of directors for electronics, Thomas Ulbrich, there should be 70 e-models and a total of 22 million e-cars that the Wolfsburg-based company will produce by 2028.
Ulbrich has held his position on the board since 2018 and has been leading a project that VW is known internally as the “Gallic village”: The entry into electromobility with the ID.3 and ID.4 electric car series, which are manufactured in Zwickau. The production of the vehicles was deliberately separated from the “overall organization of production” at VW, because this was dominated by the combustion engine – hence the slogan “Gallic village”. Volkswagen’s hope for the future lies on the electric models. The ID.3 has now been launched, the ID.4 is not yet on the market. So there is still work for Ulbrich, the board member for electronics.
The “Gallic village” becomes VW mainstream
Business Insider learned from corporate circles that from the end of 2021, when almost only electric cars will be produced in Zwickau and the ID.4 has celebrated its market entry, the position of the electrical board member will be clearly deprived of power and the structures linked to the “overall organization of production” VW are to be reintegrated. Electronics will then no longer be a Gallic village, but VW mainstream, according to the company. Thomas Ulbrich therefore expect new tasks by the end of next year at the latest.
Inside the group there was a persistent rumor that Ulbrich would switch to Volkswagen’s electrical joint venture JAC-JV. The electrical board member had already been vice-president of the VW subsidiary Shanghai-Volkswagen Automotive Co. in China for four years. He knows the country and the Chinese authorities and now has a lot of experience in the electronics division. The transfer would not have been appreciated within the group as a demotion, but rather as a promotion. Business Insider learned that it was actually just a rumor. As for Ulbrich after his current position, is completely open.
The hammer fell in Wolfsburg, Loth has to go
At VW, however, there is clarity about Stefan Loth’s future. The head of the VW main plant in Wolfsburg is forcibly transferred to Zwickau. Around 60,500 employees work in the Wolfsburg plant on an area of more than 6 square kilometers. The Golf, Tiguan and Touran models are built here. This makes the main factory in Wolfsburg by far the largest and most prestigious factory of the group worldwide.
Loth was responsible for the stumbled start-up of the Golf 8, the VW icon and identification core of the group among the combustion models. Business Insider reported that even before the outbreak of the corona crisis and the related production complications, only every third Golf rolled off the assembly line without errors. After the golf disaster, Loth fell out of favor with the board of directors – it has been rumored throughout the company for days that the hammer could soon fall in Wolfsburg. Now he’s fallen. Many at VW see Loth’s forced transfer as a demotion. Others argue that Loth will now be moved to a plant in Zwickau where the future of the group will be produced – namely the ID series.
Rainer Fessel will succeed Loth as head of the main plant in Wolfsburg. So far, Fessel has been the head of the Seat factory Marotell and is considered a confidante of the new production director Christian Vollmer, who himself moved to the VW board of directors from Seat at the beginning of August.