Dr. Herbert Diess: "The entire workforce did exceptional work. The year demanded much from all of us. Occasionally, it even brought some of us to our very limits. At the Wolfsburg plant alone, we needed 20 special shifts in order to deliver cars on time to customers. In many ways, the Volkswagen brand is much better positioned today than it was before the diesel crisis. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to each and every employee for this achievement."
In his speech, the Volkswagen CEO noted that the work to implement the strategy TRANSFORM 2025+ was making good progress. The new models have gotten off to a very successful start, productivity is improving as well. He pointed in particular to the models being made in Wolfsburg: The Tiguan is now one of the world's 10 top-selling vehicles, and the Golf continues to set standards in terms of quality and innovation, Diess said. Turning to the company's need to transform its culture, the CEO said further efforts – as well as patience – were required. Diess: "We have to realize one thing: We will not change Volkswagen overnight. But we are working steadily to create a good corporate culture that has integrity."
With its model offensive, the CEO said Volkswagen was ensuring that its production operations were optimally utilized. Production of the Golf, a job currently being done by four locations, will be focused on the main plant in Wolfsburg starting in 2020. In the process, Wolfsburg will become the undisputed "capital of the Golf" once again, Diess said. The plant in Osnabrück will have its own promising model: the T-Roc convertible. In Zwickau, Europe's largest center of expertise for e-mobility is being developed. "We are doing everything we can to secure long-range jobs at Volkswagen and to provide our locations with a good future," Diess said.
In the months ahead, the main job will be to pick up the pace of the work, he added. "We will continue our model offensive, make further gains in productivity and prepare to launch the I.D. Family," the CEO said. "Our electric cars will be the key to reaching the challenging CO2 targets in 2020. The next few years will require each of us to give 110 percent."
During the meeting, Diess provided employees at the main plant in Wolfsburg with a preview of the showcar I.D. Vizzion that the brand will unveil at the Geneva Motor Show next week. The fully autonomous I.D. Vizzion exemplifies the automobile of the day after tomorrow. Diess said he thought that autonomous driving would become a reality faster than many people believe. Volkswagen must systematically prepare for this world as well, he added.