The supervisory board of Volkswagen discussed the delays and discrepancies within the group in the development of its own car software and the expansion of the “Cariad” IT division. On Friday, it was also about a concept already indicated by CEO Herbert Diess and Cariad boss Dirk Hilgenberg, with which responsibilities should be distributed more clearly and new interim goals should be agreed. But there is still no final plan, it said in the evening. Another topic of the meeting was the appointment of Kerstin Waltenberg as VW human rights officer on August 1st.
Development status, ideas and difficulties
Diess bears overall responsibility for the software area, which is strategically important alongside e-mobility. The aim is a uniform electronics and IT platform from which all brands can use a modular system as required. Contrary to what was initially planned, however, the development for the upper-class subsidiaries Audi and Porsche, especially for assistance systems, should continue in parallel for the time being. The processes will only be merged in a few years.
The background is deviations in the development status, different ideas of the brands and difficulties with compatibility. Actually, it should come down to a uniform software platform much sooner. This “Version 2.0” is now targeted for the middle or second half of the decade. It is to be used in the future Trinity core model, for example. There were already fears that various starts could be at risk because of the time delay.
Earlier this week, Diess explained to the workforce that the timing had to be improved. The preliminary division of tasks will cost VW up to half a billion euros. “Setbacks in individual projects are part of it, we still have to learn software culture,” he said. The group wants to increase Cariad’s staff, streamline decision-making processes and look out for other specialized IT companies for takeovers or investments.
Uyghurs: Problematic work in China
The new supply chain law will take effect in Germany at the beginning of 2023. Waltenberg is to report regularly to the Executive Board on the monitoring of labor, social and environmental standards in the global purchasing and production networks that will be mandatory from then on. This had been planned for a long time, it said. Some observers also see the personnel as a sign that Volkswagen wants to address concerns about its China business more.
The group operates a factory in northwest China’s Urumqi with the state-controlled joint venture partner SAIC. According to human rights organizations, the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region is being systematically oppressed – VW has faced criticism for maintaining its presence. IG Metall called for consideration to be given to giving up the location.
Diess wants to visit the plant soon to get an idea. According to his information, there is no forced labor there. He rejects withdrawing from Urumqi – that would hardly improve the situation for the people, rather more communication about values is necessary. The VW boss also generally warned against the exclusion of China.