New Volkswagen CEO outlines plans to accelerate transition to electric vehicles

On his first official day at the helm of Europe’s biggest automaker, new VW CEO Oliver Blume announced plans to double down on electric vehicles. In an internal interview, Blume said Volkswagen would accelerate its transition to electric vehicles as consumers increasingly prefer electric models.

Blume took over as CEO of Volkswagen after the automaker’s former executive, Herbert Diess, announced he would step down at the end of August.

Diess was elected to VW’s board in 2015 after a long career at BMW that spanned almost 20 years; similarly, Blume has deep roots in the automotive industry.

Blume studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University of Braunschweig in 1988, one of Germany’s most renowned research institutes. He was then appointed to the international internship program at Audi, where he established his career.

Blume held various roles in bodybuilding and engineering in the early 2000s. He then worked his way into VW’s high-performance luxury division, Porsche, joining the production and logistics in 2013.

Within two years, Blume was promoted to CEO and Chairman of the Board of Porsche. And in 2018 he was appointed to the board of VW.

Blume is now taking over as CEO of Europe’s largest automaker. Meanwhile, VW has found success in the lucrative electric vehicle market despite supply constraints crippling the industry.

The automotive group was the market leader in electric vehicles in Europe and second in the United States, behind Tesla. VW says the launch of the all-electric ID.4 was the “rebirth of the brand”.

Volkswagen is currently leading investments in electric vehicles and batteries as it prepares for the transition of the automotive industry. Earlier this year, VW outlined its NEW AUTO strategy, which plans to become a “sustainable, software-driven mobility provider” with 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030.

2023 Volkswagen ID.4 EV SUVSource: VW

Volkswagen will accelerate the transition to electric vehicles according to its new CEO

It looks like Volkswagen isn’t planning to let up as demand for electric vehicles skyrockets in all major markets.

Blume has his eyes on the future. He explains during an internal interview on his first day of work:

I am a fan of e-mobility and I maintain this path… we will maintain the current pace and, if possible, increase it.

Despite outside concerns about whether Blume will continue his predecessor’s aggressive shift to electric vehicles, initial reports suggest he will only accelerate it.

The new CEO also reassured that electric vehicles remain the priority for Porsche, which is aiming for 80% electric sales by 2030. Porsche sees strong demand for electric models after the launch of the Taycan EV.

Blume met with senior executives and outlined a 10-point plan to accelerate its electric vehicle sales in key markets such as North America, Europe and China, while cutting costs to increase profits for businesses.

Blume has been described as a cool, calm and collected leader, making him a strong candidate to lead Volkswagen’s EV transition as the automaker seeks to overtake Tesla.

Electrek’s Grasp

After seeing strong demand for his electric vehicle models across all regions, Volkswagen’s new CEO is stepping up efforts to go electric.

With VW leading the investment market, it’s no surprise to see Blume follow through on the former CEO’s vision. The German car group has already publicly stated that it wants to be the market leader in electric vehicles, and so far it looks like the company is ready to do whatever it takes.

Will Volkswagen overtake Tesla by 2025? It will be an uphill battle as Tesla continues to ramp up production as demand for its models continues to grow globally. But with VW set to launch a version of its ID.Life concept, an electric vehicle model for less than $25,000, it may have a market opportunity that Tesla hasn’t yet tapped into.

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