Volkswagen boss tells employees “revolution” is needed to fight Tesla, the Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicles

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Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess called on the employees of the German automaker on Thursday to prepare for the “revolution” that is required to take on the electric car pioneer Tesla and the Chinese manufacturers.

“In the new automotive world we are faced with a competition the likes of which Volkswagen has never seen before,” said Diess in a speech at the automaker’s flagship plant in Wolfsburg.

The German group – to whose 12 brands Audi, Porsche and Skoda belong – is pumping 35 billion euros (approx.

Since VW is planning to discontinue the production of cars with combustion engines in Europe for its flagship brand of the same name as early as 2033, the systems will soon have to be converted.

Diess said he was “concerned” about the Wolfsburg plant, the future of which has been hotly debated within the group, and highlighted the “impressive productivity” of the new Tesla plant outside of Berlin, where production is slated to begin in the next few months.

Tesla plans to produce a vehicle in 10 hours at its German plant, Diess said, while Volkswagen’s most important electric car plant in Zwickau needs “more than 30 hours”.

Diess, who caused consternation in the company last month when he conjured up the possible loss of 30,000 jobs in Wolfsburg, said: “Today is the right time for the VW revolution.”

Works council chairman Daniela Cavallo said at the general meeting that “no one is too many” at the Wolfsburg plant.

“You regularly provide us with beautiful photos of your travels, but not with semiconductors,” said Cavallo, referring to the recent production downtimes caused by the lack of the critical component.

The CEO’s planned “Revolution for Wolfsburg” is the Group’s “Trinity” project: a new battery-powered line is to be manufactured from 2026, which entails a major renovation in the central plant, which has not yet started producing an electric model.

“I would like your children and grandchildren to have a secure job here in Wolfsburg in 2030,” Diess told the employees and urged them to make Volkswagen “fit for the future”.

Meanwhile, works council chairwoman Cavallo said the production of another electric model at the Wolfsburg plant was “essential well before Trinity and 2026”.

The Volkswagen Board of Management will present its “Vision 2030” for the Wolfsburg plant at a Supervisory Board meeting on December 9th.

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