“We are now working under high pressure to get as close as possible to the goals,” said VW boss Herbert Diess in an interview with Wirtschaftswoche. “Next year it will be easier, and by 2022 we shouldn’t have any more problems meeting the fleet targets.” If the Wolfsburg-based group does not meet the targets for 2020 and 2021, the EU faces fines running into billions.
VW had “started relatively late” to convert the fleet to lower-emission vehicles, admitted Diess, although the industry knew that the fleet targets would come. “We won’t be able to go much faster before 2025 because there aren’t enough batteries,” he said. “Between 2025 and 2030, on the other hand, we could still grow.”
Open to Daimler cooperation in car operating systems
Diess was also ready to collaborate with other car manufacturers in developing a car operating system, such as Daimler. Modern cars are IT products that, like PCs or smartphones, require an operating system, and both car manufacturers are currently programming their own operating system.
“We would be open to cooperation,” Diess told Wirtschaftswoche. “Just as we are open to cooperations on our electric car platforms.” First, however, VW had to “get the software right” for its many brands and models.
The CEO expects that, similar to smartphones, only a few operating systems will establish themselves in cars worldwide. Google already offers a car operating system. “We could of course buy the operating system,” said Diess. However, VW would thereby “become dependent on a company with completely different interests in a central area”. He does not consider that an option, the company wants to avoid such a dependency.
Power struggle solution in a few weeks?
This confirmed to the newspaper that a power struggle over personnel issues had broken out between him and the group works council and was confident that a solution would be found in the next few weeks. At Volkswagen, the positions of CFO and Purchasing Director have to be filled. In addition, a possible extension of Diess’ contract, which runs until 2023, is to be decided.
“The personal details are a complex matter in which the various stakeholders – the works council, the owner families, the state of Lower Saxony – want to be taken along,” Diess told Wirtschaftswoche. The situation is “not easy”, but does not tolerate any further delay. The position of the purchasing director has been vacant for a long time. Diess emphasized that he was not playing against VW works council chief Bernd Osterloh, but “in the same team” with him.
With a share price of EUR 145.42, the VW share ended XETRA trading 0.45 percent less than at the end of the previous day.
FRANKFURT (Dow Jones)