Audi boss reshuffles management and focuses on software

As the German magazine Automobilwoche reports, Audi will focus more on software in future vehicle development. Döllner wants to set up a ‘Software Defined Vehicle’ hub to focus on new vehicle concepts across the Group’s brands.

Volkswagen and the much-criticized VW software subsidiary Cariad will also participate in the hub. That means other Group brands are also (at least indirectly) involved. On the Cariad side, software expert Sanjay Lal, who was poached from Tesla, will head the hub.

Among other VW Group brands, Audi wasn’t satisfied with the services (not) delivered by VW’s Cariad. Important cars like the Q6 e-tron (and its Porsche brother Macan, both based on the new PPE platform) were delayed several times because Cariad couldn’t deliver.

Lorenz Führlinger will head the Software Defined Vehicle hub. Führlinger was previously responsible for the MQB model series and the flat-bottom electric models in the compact segment on the SSP future platform at Audi.

Another significant personnel change concerns Audi’s partnership with Chinese carmaker SAIC. Fermin Soneira will now head the joint vehicle development. Until now, he has been the model series manager for all electric models from the A to the C segment, including the Q4 e-tron. Robert Meyer will replace him in Ingolstadt on March 1st. Döllner allegedly announced the changes internally to employees at the end of January.

Restructuring

Döllner was Head of Group Strategy in Wolfsburg before his move to Ingolstadt to replace Duesmann. He is paying close attention to synergies and efficiencies in planning and development.

On the one hand, the product and portfolio strategy is being restructured, and the management of the model series is being brought together under Christiane Zorn, Head of Product Strategy.

The previously separate operational and strategic corporate management areas will also be merged organisationally by Döllner – Daniel Kauer, currently Head of Strategic Planning at VW, who will be responsible for this from the 1st of April.

Process- and software-oriented

Audi essentially confirmed the upcoming changes to Automobilwoche. “The focus will be on the streamlined model portfolio and global brand strengthening. That requires clear responsibilities, fast decision-making channels, and lean processes,” the company declared.

The German magazine reported a few days ago that Audi wants to become “a process- and software-oriented organization”. That also includes efficiently using its factories, which is why Döllner could stop producing the Q8 e-tron in Belgium after the change in a generation.

Audi Brussels

With the current Q8-e-tron generation, the plant in Brussels is not utilized to capacity. According to the article in Automobilwoche, which does not provide a precise source, internal discussions are underway about building the next generation of the Q8 e-tron in Mexico and China.

Even though former CEO Markus Duesmann had already announced Q8 production in Brussels from 2026 at a staff meeting, the plan has been put on ice. An Audi spokesperson explained: “We are working closely with the Volkswagen Group to optimize plant allocation for our global production network. A follow-up allocation for Brussels is currently being discussed.”

The future of the Q8 e-tron in Brussels is thus not sure, but no decision has yet been made. If the Q8 project is moved to another plant, there is much more at stake than just a model shift. As the Q4 e-tron will probably continue to come mainly from Zwickau in the future, the Brussels plant would be left entirely without a model, and another series is currently not foreseeable. Therefore, the plant’s future would be up for debate.

New Audi boss Döllner wants to restructure and refocus his company, and Audi Brussels could be ‘collateral damage’ /Audi

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