The re-elevation of the Volkswagen brand after Dieselgate has become so important to the company that it’s reportedly replacing CEO Matthias Mueller, who led the automaker after the diesel-emissions scandal, with the man who’s been responsible for revitalizing the marque, brand chief Herbert Diess.
Volkswagen’s board will vote on the management shakeup at a meeting on Friday, according to a press release.
Mueller has done a remarkable job leading Volkswagen out of the abyss, helping restore profitability and investor confidence as well as beginning to launch a suite of electric and self-driving cars—even as the company was paying out billions of dollars in government penalties and finger its bad actors for the diesel scandal.
He has done all this while continuing to fend off Toyota and keep Volkswagen firmly in the position of being the biggest-selling automaker in the world, as it continued in the first quarter. Diess, meanwhile, has delivered on difficult cost cuts after arriving from BMW in mid-2015, Bloomberg reported, and “he’s got the right combination of an outsider’s perspective and an internal track record” at VW.
Among Diess’s recent accomplishments — establishing a Holistic User Experience (HUX) division that aims to make VW the favored mobility brand of western consumers by increasing the number of digital touchpoints between them and the brand through in-vehicle systems, apps and other platforms.
The new division’s “core task” will be “creating unique and consistent look and feel at all touch points,” a press release stated, starting with the ID family, a new generation of electric vehicles for VW.
“Volkswagen is consistently preparing itself to become the most user-centered mobility brand,” VW stated about establishing a Holistic User Experience (HUX) division headed by Dr. Matthias Erb, who reports directly to Volkswagen’s CEO.
Among VW’s early entrants in the EV derby were the 2015 e-Golf, a zero-tailpipe-emissions version of its popular small car. The company even partnered with a company called 3Degrees to purchase carbon offsets in California and around the U.S. to cover greenhouse gas emissions associated with the e-Golf.
Now the company has an Electronics Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley as the epicenter of its electronics expertise in North America and its largest research facility outside Germany. Nikolai Reimer, executive director of the lab, recently shared part of VW’s vision for e-mobility that will be at the heart of the HUX platform.
“We put our customers and their digital experiences at the center of our innovations,” he said. “More than ever, it will be the anticipation of customers’ mobility needs and the provision of mobility services which are seamlessly integrated alongside other services like entertainment, education or shopping. Over-the-air software updates via available connected car services could also allow automatic upgrades to the vehicle’s technology packages, which can help enhance the enjoyment of one’s car.”