Audi’s new CEO Markus Duesmann plans to leverage the deepest industry slump in decades to make the automaker nimbler and sharpen their technological edge after five years of management turmoil. He intends to review Audi’s product range and accelerate vehicle development at the VW Group’s premium-car division. “We take the crisis as an opportunity and even an invitation to try new things,” Duesmann said.
The CEO was hired to revive profits at Audi after years of upheaval in the wake of the diesel-emissions crisis that erupted in 2015. Audi have wrestled with operational hiccups that delayed electric-car projects meant to help the automaker better compete with rival Tesla. It also saw several board members depart and last year struggled with production bottlenecks triggered by stricter emissions test procedures in Europe.
Audi’s previous efforts to challenge Tesla struggled to gain traction, and one of Duesmann’s key moves since taking over at Audi was to set up an engineering task force, called “Artemis”, to develop a new electric car by 2024. The automaker plan to cut as many as 9,500 jobs in Germany by 2025 to improve earnings by about €6bn, Audi said last year.