July 26, 2021

VW CEO reveals ‘Mission T’ to ‘catch up with Tesla’ as he faces vote of confidence

Herbert Diess, the head of the Volkswagen group, has released a blog post discussing his effort to reform the giant automaker, including revealing “Mission T,” his plan to “catch up with Tesla.”

It comes as the executive forced a vote of confidence over his leadership at Volkswagen.

Diess came to Volkswagen from BMW in 2015 amid the Dieselgate scandal and started a wide-ranging effort to reform the company.

In a new blog post called “How we transform Volkswagen,” the executive revealed in more detail how he and his team have been leading this effort.

A lot of the effort revolves around the automaker’s electrification plan, and when it comes to electric vehicles, Diess has been open about the fact that he believes that “it is going to be a race with Tesla.”

The CEO has even now revealed that he organized a workshop nicknamed “Mission T” with the goal to find ways to catch up with Tesla earlier this year:

As a result, we had to tailor Volkswagen’s strategy to keep up with these new competitors. To this end, we organized a second workshop with Professor Malik in April 2020. 31 senior executives from Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche were involved in ‘Mission T,’ as it was dubbed. The event revolved around how we can catch up with Tesla — a company focused exclusively on the future, without a traditional car business. Its Silicon Valley-style ecosystem is influenced by software capabilities, focus on technology and risk culture. The workshop was held over three days — under special constraints with masks and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The opening question was: ‘What do we have to achieve in the next six months to catch up with Tesla in terms of technology by 2024?’

Following the VW’s ‘Mission T’ event, the CEO concluded that Volkswagen needed more nimble new unbureaucratic organizational units in order to compete with Tesla’s pace of innovation.

Project Artemis, who’s goal is to produce a “highly efficient electric car” at Audi, is the first vehicle program that is going to use a new organizational structure that is more startup-like.

In the blog post, Diess also explains how he has been trying to adapt his management style to Volkswagen.

He is revealing all these new details into his plan as media reports in Germany claim he is pushing for a vote of confidence from Volkswagen’s board through an early extension of his contract, which is not due until 2023.

Electrek’s Take
This is in line with what we have been hearing at Volkswagen: Diess is pushing hard on electrification but facing some internal pushbacks.

If he does get approved for an early extension, it would give his efforts a stamp of approval from the board and now people internally that might have just been waiting for him to go away in a few years in order to go back to the old way of doing things are going to have to change their own plans or leave.

I hope that Diess gets what he wants here because he seems sincere in his effort to make Volkswagen a positive force in achieving sustainable transportation.

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