Interview with Audi boss Bram Schot

Interview with Audi boss Bram Schot
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What do you think : From what year will Audi be electric only?

U ur decisions always have an effect at least ten years into the future. So in 2025 we will decide whether to do another combustion engine. And if so, it will have an effect beyond 2035. But honestly, I'm actually faced with a different question.

Which one?

Do we completely do without combustion engines in a single series?

In which class would you like to do this? Probably at the top, right?

I'm not saying that yet.

How do you approach this decision?

I look at how the sedan segment is developing. And how quickly customers in certain classes are enthusiastic about electrification. And I look at who is most willing to pay a little more for it. Who can afford that best?

Would it be important for you to announce to BMW and Mercedes that you are taking this step towards a series without any combustion engine?

No. I don't care to be the first. I always want to be the best. In football, we Dutch are used to never finishing first, but playing the best football. But we at Audi are definitely in the Champions League: In the next 24 months we will bring twelve new electrified models to the road - all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids. And there will be 30 new models by 2025.

A year and a half ago, natural gas cars were a big topic for Audi. Will you pursue this further?

This has not yet been definitively discussed in the group. But I see it as difficult, as the distribution is limited to a few countries and the credits for e-gas are missing. At the same time, I think it's a shame because we have good technical solutions.

How do you want to deal with Quattro in the future? Would it be conceivable again to have an own Quattro model, like the Audi Quattro used to be?

I think Quattro as an all-wheel drive is part of the brand's DNA. And your own model? Hmm ...

'Hmm ...' means: 'I'm just thinking about it'?

Audi has always been shaped by certain things Icons: the Ur-Quattro, the TT, the R8.

And got the TT and R8 of all thingsallegedly no successors. Correct?

Well, let's put it this way: We think about it very carefully in view of the numbers. The R8 commutes between 2,000 and 3,000 cars sold annually. And from the TT we make a little over 20,000 cars a year. But whether there are direct successors or not: We definitely need icons.

What could that be?

Maybe something completely different what fits the brand. But what also embodies more of the future.

World premiere of the e- tron in San Francisco. At that time, Bram Schot was still acting head of Audi.
You are a sales professional. If everything goes more and more in the direction of SUVs: Is that good or bad?

In countries like the USA we now have almost 60 percent SUVs, in Europe it will also happen that way. But electrifying the really big SUVs creates weight problems. That's why our Q4 makes me so happy. If you drive it, you will feel: This is an ideal introduction.

That means specifically?

There will be no fewer SUVs. But I see the big growth there more in the middle class.

Will mobility become more expensive overall?

Definitely. Electrification is becoming more expensive. But petrol and diesel will also cost more.

Will coalitions - like now between BMW and Mercedes - become a panacea? Group we have a happy starting position. We are currently in the process of creating the electrification architecture PPE with Porsche. Super nice cars come out of there. But I can already imagine that the German auto industry in particular is working together on many topics: electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity, sharing. Because all of this costs us a lot of money.

What does the customer want?

Look to China: Connectivity is the number one reason to buy there. That happens in Europe too. Engine and transmission, on the other hand, are becoming less important. That is why you can also work together there in principle and standardize things.

How many Audi will be sold to private individuals in the future and how many will be in fleets, including from providers such as Uber?

So-called sharing will keep coming. I see that in my children. They are 22 and 25 years old. They are much further away from property and possession, they also see the world very differently. It's a different mentality and they are the decision makers of the future. But there is also something else.


The fact that in the future 60 to 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities. There is not enough space there for more and more cars. If I want to be a serious partner in the future, then I have to share the cars under the Audi brand. Sharing will become a matter of course. But we will see whether that will be 30 to 40 percent.

Do you still feel comfortable with the slogan 'Vorsprung durch Technik'?

Yes, very. Because digitalization and autonomous driving always have to do with technology. So that will also fit in the future. At Audi, we want to be the leading brand in the Group when it comes to technology.

You have to save 15 billion, invest 14 billion in the new mobility and have three billion the diesel scandal has cost so far. Can you manage it all financially?

We have a very clear plan that consists of seven modules, from capital deployment, market penetration and material input to the Chinese market. All strategic goals are clear. And we're right on schedule. We no longer make all offshoots of a certain model, not every model gets all drive trains, we no longer go into all markets. All of this saves costs. We have to be consistent, much more consistent than before. I always look ahead.


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