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Volkswagen Group increases strategic focus on digitalization, autonomous driving

At the Volkswagen Group Night event on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show, CEO Matthias Müller said that the Group is realigning its Group Design for the digital era. He announced three new “Volkswagen Group Future Centers” in Potsdam, China and California where designers and digitalization experts will work together on the car of the future.In addition, Müller said the Group has started an autonomous driving offensive with the aim of bringing this core technology to market maturity faster than the competition.

These two key strategic decisions underscore the Group's conviction that digitalization will open up new fields of business and sales potential.

Johann Jungwirth, who became Chief Digital Officer at the Volkswagen Group in November 2015, said that the Volkswagen Group will partly become a software and services company in the process of becoming a leading mobility provider by 2025.

The mission of the new Group Future Centers is to make Volkswagen Group vehicles best in class in terms of customer experience, interface design, operating logic, new interior concepts, and infotainment/entertainment.

Michael Mauer became the Head of Group Design this January. The realignment will be implemented in close cooperation with the Group’s digitalization department. The studio in Potsdam has already begun working under the new concept. The decisions regarding the locations for the new centers in California and Asia will be taken soon.

CEO Müller emphasized that shaping the future will only succeed “if, at the same time, we learn from past mistakes”. In that respect, he said, the current year was an important step along the way: “2016 is the year when we intend to solve the problem with our diesel engines for our customers, and when we realign the Group for the future.” That would lay the foundation for a strong Group, Müller commented in Geneva: “We are tackling this twofold task with the necessary respect, but also in the firm conviction that the Group and its brands can and will emerge from this difficult phase even stronger.”

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