VW Taking A Page Out Of Ford's Book To Develop Next-Gen Cars

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The complexities of building EVs and ICE vehicles simultaneously have led to VW's latest restructure.

In recent years, several of the globe's biggest automakers have restructured their passenger-car businesses in an effort to meet the demands of electromobility, and for some, autonomous technologies. Ford is an example of this with its Model e and Ford Blue car divisions; the former focuses on new technologies and EVs specifically, whereas the latter deals with more traditional ICE models like the Ford Bronco that will remain in high demand for years to come. Volkswagen is undergoing a restructure of its own with the establishment of a New Mobility division that will concentrate on the development of EVs and autonomous driving technologies.

This restructure coincides with the announcement of several new appointments on the Brand Board of Management and is one of the first major structural moves since the company fired Herbert Diess and replaced him with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume.

2021-2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Forward View CarBuzz

Thomas Ulbrich (pictured below) is now the board member that will head up the New Mobility division which groups together both VW e-series models - including the current ID.4 crossover and the US-bound ID.Buzz van - and the company's software expertise. The ID.4 is based on the MEB platform but the New Mobility division will also handle cars built on the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) with 800V electric architecture.

One of the key models to utilize SSP will be Project Trinity, an electric sedan that will ultimately wear the ID.4 badge, too. Sources suggest that both single-motor rear-wheel-drive and dual-motor all-wheel-drive derivatives will be sold, making it a direct Tesla Model 3 rival.

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Ulbrich is a logical choice to head up the New Mobility division as he already has a strong track record for electromobility at VW, having overseen the development of the ID.3 hatchback that has been a hit in Europe and the ID.4 sold here.

"With the newly created New Mobility division, we're bundling the strategic action areas of electric mobility and software, thereby increasing our pace of innovation," said Thomas Schafer, CEO of the Volkwagen Passenger Cars brand. "The goal is to offer our customers top-quality hardware and software that's very easy to use."

The New Division will work closely with Cariad, the VW Group's automotive software unit and the reason behind EV delays across the VW Group. To strengthen cooperation between the two units, Ulbrich has also been elected to Cariad's Supervisory Board. Cariad has a number of ongoing projects, including the development of sensors and actuators that will make Level 4 autonomy possible in the future.

2024 Volkswagen ID.Aero View Out Back Volkswagen
2024 Volkswagen ID.Aero Forward View Volkswagen

Other changes that come into effect on October 1 include Kai Grunitz, who will succeed Ulbrich as the board member responsible for Technical Development. Patrik Andreas Mayer will become the Chief Financial Officer at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, and Alexander Seitz has been appointed Executive Chairman of Volkswagen Group South American Region.

Volkswagen is already one of the major automakers identified by Greenpeace as doing the most to combat climate change, and it remains one of the few automakers with a chance of toppling Tesla in the years to come. The New Mobility division will fast-track these efforts.

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