The past few years haven’t been easy for Volkswagen. Now, in mid-2019, there’s a new sense of optimism. The automobile world is eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the ID3. at the IAA in Frankfurt, the ride-sharing service Moia is launching in Hamburg, as is the electric car-sharing service WeShare in Berlin. What is in the air right now?
It’s a fantastic time for us as a team. What we are seeing now is the result of 3.5 years of work, because any correction course you try to undertake in the automotive industry will become visible after that amount of time. Right now everyone is noticing and seeing the speed and dynamism with which this “big ship Volkswagen” is moving in new directions. It is bursting with an agility that you haven’t been accustomed to from Volkswagen for a long time.
Is that a global change of heart and cultural change?
We are busy with re-aligning the company at all levels. We see our main responsibility as bringing people in harmony with themselves and with the external world. It’s also about being open-minded to the major changes in the world around us and to accept that we as the Volkswagen brand are also in an incredible period of transition: from a company that used to build and sell outstanding products to a company that, additionally, has to take an ever stronger lead in mobility systems.
What does that mean to you as a member of the board of the Volkswagen brand?
Volkswagen is in the process of a very large transition, one that includes not only a rational realization, but also a conscious decision as the executive management team, that we have to become recognizable as people. What is important is that although we are board members of such a large corporation like Volkswagen, we are still people. We have normal concerns, and the biggest concern we all share is to make the Volkswagen brand and the Group – the brand accounts for approximately 60 percent of the Group as a whole –recognizable again: as a human corporation. With executives that have opinions and ideas. Ideas that can also give rise to friction now and then. That’s also a part of it. Our board meetings are an open exchange of opinions and information; we interact without any reservations.
What does “becoming recognizable as people” mean to you?
That the people who represent the brand also want to represent it to the outside world, and to do so as a person and not as a corporate messenger. But rather as me, the person Jürgen Stackmann. Just like Herbert Diess or Ralf Brandstätter. We are happy and proud to take the work we have done beyond the company’s walls.
Visibility is the keyword: the Volkswagen brand wants to present the new version of itself at the IAA. What are the changes?
The whole team is looking forward to Frankfurt, where the new brand will be unveiled. There, too, the entire body of work done by every Volkswagen employee in the past three and a half years will become visible. People will notice what is happening with this brand and that there’s a lot of energy in it. I’m proud of what my Marketing and Sales teams have achieved with the re-imagining of the brand’s image. We have found a super strong and fresh, positive way to show the brand that is repeated in the imagery, in the logo and in the ways and means by which we deal with this in the future. Volkswagen is the “New Volkswagen” – in terms of technology, products, and in the way we present ourselves.