Volkswagen, entangled in difficulties with the operating software of the new ID.3 electrical, dismissing its director of the computer of its functions, yet a member of the board of directors of the group.
Among the car manufacturers historical, the digital transition is underway for the past several years, but it appears that for some, the internal resistances within the framework of an industry that is aging to become cost-prohibitive.
An industry that for the past few years is eroded, as it has perhaps ever been since the first oil shock, but for other reasons. The arrival of Tesla, in particular, in the ugly duckling, and then with the new environmental standards, and questioned one by one all the layers and processes of a sector that is certainly extremely competitive, but that was still somewhat asleep on her old habits.
In fact, everything is to review, rethink. Methods of production and the channels of distribution (internet vs. concessions), via the communication (internet and VR vs. trade fairs and showrooms). And especially it is necessary to respond to this threefold injunction : to produce smart cars, connected and that don’t pollute more. Add to that the transition to the forced march towards the electrical, and you have all the elements of a cocktail that could completely destabilize an industry.
Fortunately, the builders, which are also sometimes run by smart people, and that, most importantly, still have the big capacity and a commercial power second to none, are able to respond, and they can prove it. But this does not happen without some collateral damage, and in particular humans.
Christian Senger, Director of the Software of the Volkswagen Group comes to learn the hard way. While the German giant is preparing to launch its first model, the 100% electric new generation (after the e-UP and e-Golf), built on a unique platform dedicated to the electric, the VW iD.3, the direction of the group, of which he is yet a member of the board of directors, decided to dispense with his services.
However, Christian Senger is not anyone. Considered one of spirits more competent at Volkswagen, the engineer has led the development of the ID series, electric, with which Volkswagen will make its entry in the electric mobility. Since march 2019, he was responsible for the Car.Software.Org. Behind this term hides the most ambitious project of the VW group : a suite of software applications that must be extended to approximately 10,000 employees to develop a proprietary operating system for all the car models throughout the VW group.
What was alleged, exactly ? May be not to have integrated quite quickly the idea that prevails in the group, which consists of considering that a car is a computer on wheels, and that everything must be thought out and designed with this new matrix in the head.
Gold, Car.Software.Org at the very top of the agenda, Herbert Diess, the President of the management Board of the group. For the boss of VW, this unit is a key central for the development of the Volkswagen group. Until now, software development has hardly played of role, only ten percent of the code used from the business. Most of the time, VW uses software to automotive suppliers such as Continental, Bosch or the Korean group LG. The software had previously been regarded as a necessary evil. But the industry is changing. The car will be a smartphone on four wheels, preaches the CEO Diess. In addition to the battery, Tesla makes software a central part of its range of products. Constantly connected to the Internet, the car sends and receives data continuously.
“Tesla built the car around a computer. We, we try to put a computer in the car. “
This declaration of a part of the Volkswagen group illustrates the delay by the mark, then we got wind of a fiasco in the computer operating system of the ID.3, having already delayed the first deliveries, even if his first features seem rather promising.
With the Car.Software.Org Volkswagen wants to create the conditions so that the share of software in the group exceeds 60 % by 2025. This would allow VW to consolidate in-house of the important parts of its expertise in the field of software.
Christian Senger is not the only one to make the costs of a major ongoing restructuring within the group, other executives have already been fired or mutated in a great waltz in which the multinationals have the secret.
He will be replaced by the current boss of Audi, Markus Duesmann. Former director of BMW, this 50 year old man leading Audi since April, and it is also responsible for technological development in all areas within the board of directors of the Volkswagen group. The new leader wants to make the development faster and more targeted. The creation of an operating system uniform will remain a top priority, even after the replacement of Christian Senger.