A Volkswagen spokesperson confirmed Diess’ position that the presence of Tesla and others in Germany increased the urgency of the transition to electric vehicles, but denied that specific calculations had been made on the number of ‘jobs that may be lost in the process.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess expects 30,000 job cuts if VW switches too slowly to electric vehicles
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told a supervisory board meeting in September that the company could lose 30,000 jobs if it switches too slowly to electric vehicles (EVs), two sources told Reuters on Wednesday. made the record. Competition from new entrants to the German market, like Tesla, has pushed the company to accelerate its transformation, Diess reportedly told attendees. The American electric vehicle maker plans to produce 500,000 cars a year in Germany with 12,000 employees, while Volkswagen’s 25,000 only produce 700,000 cars at its plant in Wolfsburg.
A company spokesperson confirmed Diess’ position that the presence of Tesla and others in Germany increased the urgency of the transition to electric vehicles, but denied that specific calculations had been made on the number of jobs that may be lost in the process.
“There is no doubt that we need to look at the competitiveness of our Wolfsburg plant with a view to new market entrants,” Volkswagen spokesman Michael Manske said, noting that Tesla and the new Chinese automakers were making forays into Europe.
“Tesla is setting new standards for productivity and scale at Grunheide,” he said, referring to a Tesla plant under construction near Berlin that, at full capacity, will produce 5,000-10,000 cars per week – more than double the German battery electric vehicle (EV) production in 2020.
“A debate is now underway and there are already a lot of good ideas. There are no concrete scenarios,” said Manske.
Diess’s statement was first reported by Handelsblatt.
A spokesperson for Volkswagen’s workers’ council said that while they would not comment if Diess had made the remarks, “a reduction of 30,000 jobs is absurd and unfounded.”
Another spokesperson for the Lower Saxony region union, which is Volkswagen’s second largest shareholder, said such cuts were “out of the question”.
Electric vehicles have far fewer parts than a car with an internal combustion engine and therefore require fewer workers for their production. According to one estimate, 100,000 jobs in the German auto industry could be lost by 2025 due to electrification.
Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, the world’s largest with more than 50,000 employees, does not currently manufacture electric vehicles, but the company plans to produce an electric sedan there from 2026 as part of a plan. named “Project Trinity”.
Diess has previously said Tesla will fuel competition in Germany.
The German auto giant is also considering listing its car and power charging business in addition to existing IPO plans for its batteries division, chief technology officer Thomas Schmall told Manager Magazin in an interview published Wednesday.
Schmall said nothing has been decided yet and it will likely take up to two years before the new companies are created and ready for the stock market.
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