Volkswagen’s New CEO Promises To Accelerate The Transition To Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen will speed up its transformation to electric vehicles, but it must find the right “rhythm” as it does so, said new CEO Oliver Blume at an internal conference on Thursday, his first day in office.

Blume announced a ten-point plan for financial robustness, sustainability, the capital market, and development in China and North America at a meeting of global top managers in Lisbon.

“I am a fan of e-mobility and I stand by this path … we will keep the current pace and, where possible, increase it,” Blume said.

Volkswagen aims to overtake Tesla as the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer by 2025, and for battery-electric vehicles to account for half of its global vehicle sales by 2030.

Blume, Porsche’s CEO since 2015, is an advocate for synthetic fuels, raising concerns upon his appointment to the Group’s helm about whether he would soften former boss Herbert Diess’s strong focus on battery-electric vehicles.

Nonetheless, the new CEO told the local newspaper Braunschweiger Zeitung on Thursday that e-fuels were “primarily a Porsche topic.”

Volkswagen must find the right rhythm for a stable transformation by defining and executing a clear strategy, he said in his speech in Lisbon, which was peppered with references to the importance of collaboration.

According to sources, Blume was chosen in part because he is perceived as a calmer and more consensus-driven leader than his predecessor, who was known for radical shifts in strategy and a single-minded approach that occasionally enraged the carmaker’s powerful workers council.

In an interview with Handelsblatt, the 54-year-old attempted to allay fears that his dual role as CEO of Porsche and Volkswagen would cause problems by stating that he was relinquishing ten of his mandates.

Blume will also take over management of the software unit Cariad, which was established under Diess’ supervision and has fallen far short of its targets.

Blume told Handelsblatt that the software unit could be more open to partnerships, arguing that if global standards exist, it would be inefficient to reinvent them.

(Adapted from Nasdaq.com)

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