Lots of models, lots of factories, a lot of money – and probably also some top personal items: The agenda for what will probably be the last meeting of the VW Supervisory Board this year is full to the brim. After a meeting of its control committee, the group wants to inform about the latest decisions on Thursday. This was actually planned for mid-November. However, the need for further advice on some questions delayed the process.
In their traditional autumn round, the supervisory boards primarily deal with proposals from management as to where and how expenditure should be distributed over the next five years. This can lead to rivalries between the brands and locations in the global VW network. Particular attention is currently paid to how the investments in alternative drives as well as software and networking are broken down. On the other hand, factories with a focus on combustion engine production are wrestling for commitments for e-models and new concepts for the further qualification of their employees.
This year the negotiations were overshadowed by one irritating topic: the conflict-laden relationship between CEO Herbert Diess and the works council and IG Metall, and in some cases the state of Lower Saxony as the second largest owner. Around a turbulent meeting in September, a new conflict had built up. Works council chief Daniela Cavallo criticized Diess for the irritation that arose after considering tens of thousands of excess positions. In addition, various savings and reduction proposals were calculated behind the back of the workforce representatives.
Before announcing the expected decisions on top personalities, the company did not want to comment on the relevant media reports in advance. Theoretically, apart from leaving Diess or continuing to work in the previous system, a mixed solution, for example, would be conceivable. According to this, he would formally remain the head of the group, but his function would concentrate on a kind of overall strategic planning. VW core brand boss Ralf Brandstätter was brought into play as an additional member of the group board and as head of China – there was neither a confirmation nor a denial before the meeting.
It is certain in advance that Volkswagen will continue to give the expansion of electric mobility a very high priority in the time ahead. In the previous planning round at the end of 2020, the group had approved 35 billion euros in investments in e-mobility over the five-year cycle.
In Europe, VW plans to initially build six of its own factories for battery cells. In addition to Salzgitter, Skellefteå has already been set in northern Sweden, and a third location in Spain has good prospects. The goal: to break the dependency on external cell suppliers and to set up profitable large-scale production of our own battery systems.