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VW Group CEO on Chip Crisis

»I Hope we're Through the Worst of it«

Volkswagen Herbert Dies
Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess hopes that the worst is over for the chip shortage.
© Volkswagen

Regarding the currently prevailing chip shortage, VW Group CEO Herbert Diess still sees a lot of work ahead of him; however, things are already going a little better in some places. »We are trying to cope with it,« the manager said on Monday at the Süddeutsche Zeitung business congress in Berlin.

Herbert Diess reiterated earlier assessments that production and sales figures, already down considerably this year, are likely to remain under pressure in 2022: »We certainly won't be able to build all the cars we (want to) build next year.«

The shortage of semiconductor components has not come as surprisingly upon the auto industry as some observers have claimed, Diess said. Even before the Corona crisis, for example, with its rescheduled contracts and supply shortages, there had been discussions, he said: What's happening with the Internet of Things? The increasing networking of devices in the Internet of Things would ultimately lead to much more demand for electronics - that had been foreshadowed early on. It was known, he said, that »there's this big wave of networking coming our way.« Nevertheless, the actual extent of the chip shortage was not really foreseeable, even at Volkswagen.

At Europe's largest carmaker, the persistent lack of microchips has had drastic consequences - as it has for many other suppliers. In October, deliveries across the VW Group plummeted by just over a third (33.5 percent) compared to the same month in 2020.

Diess said that in the digitization of the car, unlike in other industries, there is still a chance to make Europe less dependent on the dominance of the American and Chinese tech giants. »We need new capabilities, we need to understand software,« he said. Volkswagen is building its own proprietary systems division to do just that.

The car will completely transform into a digital product as soon as it is driving autonomously, the VW Group CEO stressed. »To maintain the strength of the automotive industry, the big challenge is digitalization. The car is still an open field.« The Europeans could still manage to help set the standards here.

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