German car giant Volkswagen said yesterday it would slash thousands of posts to cope with its transition to electric and autonomous driving the day after reporting rising profits, saying heavy costs for investments meant savings were needed elsewhere. Chief executive Herbert Diess had on Tuesday trumpeted rising sales and profits across the sprawling 12-brand group in 2018, the third year after its “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal broke.
But it was up to the VW brand’s chief operating officer Ralf Brandstaetter to announce the flagship division would drop between 5,000 and 7,000 positions by 2023 as it chases cost savings. All of the cuts will come from non-replacement of workers already set to retire over that period, Brandstaetter said. “Given that more and more routine tasks are being automated, we’ll need fewer jobs in administration,” he said.
At the same time, VW plans to create 2,000 new posts in software development and electronics. Overall the plan would help “finance our investments and satisfy our objectives for the electric era,” chief financial officer Arno Antlitz said. Across the whole group, Volkswagen employs almost 665,000 people worldwide, close to 50,000 of them in administrative roles.