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Bentley production chief to lead VW’s software overhaul

Bynewsmagzines

May 8, 2023
Bentley production chief to lead VW's software overhaul

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Volkswagen will announce later on Monday the removal of leadership at its troubled software arm Cariad and the appointment of Bentley production chief Peter Bosch to take the unit’s helm, two sources close to the company said.

The German automaker is preparing an official statement for the afternoon with details of how Cariad, dogged by missed deadlines and overspending, will be reshuffled, the sources said, declining to be named.

Volkswagen is set to dismiss all but one of the unit’s current executive board members, with only human resources head Rainer Zugehoer to remain.

Bosch will also take over financial management at Cariad, the sources said, confirming an earlier report by Handelsblatt.

Thomas Guenther, currently a senior vice president at Cariad, will join the board in a technology role, they added, as first reported by Manager Magazin.

The sweeping changes come as Volkswagen Chief Executive Oliver Blume conducts a strategic review of every facet of the carmaker after taking over from former leader Herbert Diess last September.

Sources said at the time that Diess’ failure to put Cariad, a business he set up, on a solid footing contributed to his ousting.

A new software platform intended to enable “Level 4” autonomous driving, which was due to be implemented across the fleet from 2026, will be pushed back to the end of the decade, sources have said, with one predicting a 2028 start.

Automakers are racing to develop competitive software-powered features from self driving to in-car entertainment that provide them with valuable data on customer behaviour and vehicle performance.

Diess bundled Volkswagen’s efforts on the matter into Cariad to try to streamline development and retain control over what he believed would be the key area of innovation for cars in the future, but the unit has been beleaguered by delays and overspending.

Blume is not planning to shift gears completely with the new leadership, sources told Reuters on Monday, but he does intend to place greater emphasis on partnerships to get the carmaker’s software plans underway, rather than going at it alone.

“We will certainly make some changes, but this is not a 180-degree turn,” one source said.

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