audi forced to drop tech projects in aftermath of dieselgate – DOC692599
It doesn’t matter which brand you’re talking about – the Dieselgate scandal has rocked every single branch of the Volkswagen family tree. The latest to take a hit is Audi, as a recent report from Reuters outlines a variety of projects sidelined by the beleaguered automaker in an attempt to cut back on spending.
Citing unnamed sources from within Audi, says the Four Ring brand is pausing development of a new test track for autonomous vehicle research, as well as stopping construction of new production facilities slated to build upcoming concept cars and batteries for electric vehicles. Audi is also halting projects for its Ingolstadt-based “IN-Campus” technology park.
To make matters worse, Audi’s work council is expressing displeasure with the automaker’s recent efforts to move production beyond German borders, including plans to build all-electric vehicles in Brussels, and plans to build the Q5 SUV in Mexico.
The cutbacks come amid Volkswagen’s ongoing efforts to repair its image, with forward-thinking innovations like autonomous vehicles and electric powertrains offered as evidence of the brand’s break from its old, emissions-cheating ways. However, with Audi now sidelining many of its top tech projects, it’s uncertain how long it’ll take for VW to get back in the public’s good graces.
Why It Matters
Clearly, VW is still suffering big time from the Dieselgate scandal. The scandal story broke last September, but the company is still scrambling to find a fix, and in more ways than one.
Part of the problem is the sheer size of the scandal. Over the summer, Volkswagen announced it was offering up nearly $15 billion in a landmark settlement applied to roughly half a million U.S. diesel owners, including buyback options and cash restitution. However, the settlement didn’t take into account an additional 80,000 U.S. diesels equipped with a differently sized engine, nor did it address the 8.5 million vehicles affected in the European market.
Long story short – VW still has a big hole to dig itself out of.
In addition to the size of the problem is the complexity. Volkswagen is still searching for an adequate equipment fix. Progress has been made for the Euro-spec cars, but not the U.S. cars.
All things considered, it’s no wonder Audi is being forced to cut back on expensive technology projects. In particular, the electric powertrains are a serious blow, especially with Germany’s recently announced intentions to ban internal combustions engines by the year 2030.