Time to blame the regulators and Volkswagen's sinning ways once again.
With a diesel crisis still large in its rear-view mirror and looming accusations of collusion between the German automakers to set prices—the fallout of which threatens to pillage Volkswagen AG coffers as bad as Dieselgate did—VW is making moves that best can be described by the quote, “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” In an effort to cut costs while still investing heavily into its future, one of VW’s largest subsidiaries, Audi, is looking to slash its expenditures by €10 billion according to Reuters.
Translated into good old USD, that’s $12 billion. Yes, with a B. That pile of cash would then be reallocated towards electrifying the Four Rings’ fleet as the auto giant prepares for the day when the internal combustion engine will be banned from the modern automobile. Already Britain and France have elected to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040 and Germany will be leading the charge with a similar ban that becomes effective in 2030. This would effectively render electricity as the power supply of choice for the modern automobile unless major advances in hydrogen fuel cell or biofuel technology take place. Unfortunately for Audi, time is running out as it speeds up research and development.
The Four Rings is already planning on unveiling a slew of new all-electric models within the next few years, and despite working closely with Porsche on a platform, a punishing blow to the auto group’s bottom line from from a hypothetical fine for collusion could stop projects in its tracks. Audi declined to mention which segments would be earmarked for the axe, but you can expect the usual suspects to be fighting for funding. One of those could be the Audi Sport department, which has recently embarked on the expensive endeavor of offering custom parts and add-ons to some of its more athletic vehicles and is also eyeballing more SUVs for RS conversions. Let’s hope these don’t go anywhere for now.