Volkswagen may sideline Audi, link with competitors in new 10-year plan

Audi e-tron images

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess will outline a 10-year plan on November 16 to cut research expenses by collaborating with competitors, a step which would sideline Audi as the group’s leading development center.

The chief executive will outline his plan at a meeting of the automaker’s supervisory board, two sources informed Reuters.

It will explore possible alliances with Ford and other automakers to develop autonomous and electric vehicles (EVs). If approved by the board, it would indicate a major departure from VW’s standalone efforts to work on them and diminish Audi’s importance as an engineering hub.

Automakers internationally are thinking about teaming up to save money on development, which cost VW $13.1 billion in last year, in the race to get EVs and self-driving cars on the road.

Savings are generally important for VW as it tries to get its business back on track following emissions scandal. It deals with a huge cost to make its combustion engines comply with new anti-pollution regulations.

“The strategy plan doesn’t only cover the next five years, but looks a decade ahead,” one of the sources stated.

A Volkswagen spokesman refused to discuss the agenda of the company’s next supervisory board meeting.

Audi spokesman Peter Oberndorfer said no official decisions have been taken about reassigning Audi’s responsibilities on autonomous driving in the group.

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