Till the time authorities uncovered the infamous dieselgate scandal at Volkswagen, Audi led the autonomous vehicle operations for the group. After its engineers were laid off for developing the engine software which masked excessive pollution levels, the new Chief Executive, Abraham Schot was tasked with overhauling Audi and refocus its research efforts.
The scandal that caused about $31 billion for the German auto giant saw the exit of several senior engineers. “We are discussing what we do ourselves and where we share resources with other parts of Volkswagen. We ask ourselves: Do we need to do this in-house, is it standardized technology, and is it unique from the customer point of view,” Schot said.
Audi's Q4 e-Tron that was unveiled at Geneva Motor Show gives a glimpse of what the company plans for the future.
On the road to recovery from the aforementioned loss and as a part of the group-wide savings efforts at Volkswagen, Audi has surrendered responsibility for the development of self-driving cars. However, it will still head the operations for developing semi-autonomous cars which still requires drivers.
Further savings that were planned by Audi, included deepening a research alliance with Porsche. “We can intensify our collaboration with Porsche,” Schot said. The two companies have already begun to develop a platform known as the PPE, that would underpin a premium electric sports car in the future. Audi believes this vehicle platform will spawn a raft of premium electric cars.
Audi believes that a collaboration with Porsche can induce major cost cutting.
Audi is has traced a trajectory that involves the launch of about 30 electric models by 2025. This, on the other hand, is expected to spawn possible job cuts, the carmaker said. Audi workers will have a job until 2025. However, as electric cars require fewer parts and fewer workers to assemble, the company stated that it was working on a lay-off scheme which will rely on voluntary redundancies through early retirement.
While there is no fixed headcount on how many employees will be involved in the job cut, Audi cited that negotiations are underway with labour representatives. The company aims at delivering an operating return on sales between seven per cent and 8.5 per cent, below its long-term target.
Audi aims to deliver an operating return on sales of between 9 and 11 per cent in the long term, the carmaker said on Thursday.