INTERVIEW – Audi board member Hildegard Wortmann | Automotive Business Interview
Audi AG’s Member of the Board of Administration for Gross sales and Advertising and marketing, Hildegard Wortmann, started her profession in FMCG and vogue. In 1998 she joined BMW to re-launch the Mini as Head of Model Communication. From 2016 she took over general accountability for the BMW model, together with BMW i. Later she was head of BMW gross sales for the Asia Pacific area. She moved to her current place at Audi on 1 July 2019. just-auto had an unique video name together with her on the day of the launch of the Audi This autumn e-Tron and This autumn e-Tron Sportback.
j-a: Audi began with EVs comparatively slowly, with the e-Tron SUV. Now you might have the e-Tron GT sports activities saloon and the This autumn e-Tron fashions. What’s your roadmap for electrification?
HW: We’ve accelerated tremendously the change to electrical automobiles. We’ve strengthened our price range at Audi to €15 billion to 2025, for BEV and PHEV.
That could be a robust dedication. The longer term is electrical.
By the top of 2025 we could have 20 BEVs plus extra PHEVs. By then, BEVs and PHEVs will likely be one-third of our international gross sales.
[Shortly after we spoke, Audi unveiled the concept version of the A6 e-Tron, which will be built on the PPE platform shared with Porsche. Wortmann also mentions the SSP, a ‘highly scalable’ platform that will underpin a huge range of future Volkswagen Group cars.]
The premium market will transfer quicker to electrification than the mass market. Sustainability is the brand new premium. Different issues have been extra essential up to now however now we have to vary the corporate and the model in the direction of sustainability. It’s a precedence for 73% of millennials. They count on a model to have a stance. It is simply 34% of child boomers.
For those who’re not sustainable you are not going to be related any extra. It is crystal clear. I see an enormous probability for Audi to leapfrog the competitors. It is a whole impression of Audi as an organization and a model, fulfilling what the purchasers and the capital markets demand.
j-a: Audi builds the RSQ8, a 600 horsepower petrol SUV. Will inexperienced customers purchase an Audi if not all its merchandise are inexperienced? Tesla for instance makes solely electrical vehicles. How do you persuade these customers?
HW: Electrification is our technique for the excessive efficiency section. However you do not win simply via merchandise. It’s worthwhile to win via the corporate, and the entire worth chain. Our manufacturing websites have gotten carbon-neutral. Brussels has been since 2018. Zwickau, which makes the This autumn, is internet carbon impartial.
We’ve had the slogan ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ [progress through technology] for 50 years. What’s progress now? Not simply pace and horsepower. Covid emphasises new values. We should use know-how and progress to contribute to society. So we’re staying with that slogan.
j-a: How will you make a revenue on all this?
HW: It isn’t far off. We’ve scale benefits with the MEB and PPE platforms. The MEB could have made 19 million vehicles by 2029. The price of batteries is falling. Within the group we could have six gigafactories.
The margin on a This autumn e-Tron is already near that on an ICE Q5. Inside two years our BEVs will likely be extra worthwhile than ICE vehicles.
Keep in mind, ICE vehicles nonetheless want big investments to satisfy laws. We should do ICE and electrical. The patron will determine how lengthy we are going to promote ICEs.
j-a: There may be much less servicing requirement with BEVs versus ICEs. How will you keep aftersales income?
HW: We are able to promote features on demand (FoD) by way of the vehicles’ software program stack, within the aftermarket. And lifecycle updates. These are an enormous revenue pool.
We are going to persistently exploit information as a enterprise on the used automotive segments. We are going to do our homework, spend money on loyalty, ensures, service packages.
Whole buyer lifetime worth should not differ for an electrical automobile versus a combustion automotive.
Sellers must be educated and passionate concerning the EV transformation.
j-a: Does this income embody promoting the shopper the power?
HW: No. However everybody – governments, OEMs, power corporations – should go into the infrastructure. It isn’t rising quick sufficient. We did not wish to go into this initially, however we needed to. It isn’t our core enterprise but it surely drives automotive gross sales.
j-a: As mobility as a service (MaaS) grows, and automotive sharing will increase, will you inevitably promote fewer vehicles general?
HW: We’re not doing this for charity. There must be monetary viability. There may be not a lot of that in MaaS. We’d like the proper concepts on the proper time and there’s not but a column within the enterprise schedule. We’ve subscriptions and Audi on Demand [a short-term hire service], however they don’t seem to be huge views.
The massive step will likely be autonomous driving. That enables a major use case and viable scale for MaaS.
j-a: So when will you might have robotaxis? All of the OEMs’ projections maintain slipping again…
HW: It retains altering yearly. That reveals how arduous it’s. The entire business is identical. Our Artemis venture is working arduous on it; we are able to solely speed up the launch by creating issues differently.
j-a: What concerning the subsequent era of a few of Audi’s most particular vehicles. The R8? The TT?
HW: Within the new business you do not simply have a automotive after which its successor. It’s important to go for brand spanking new segments, and new buyer lifetimes. That is why now we have coupe-SUVs. It isn’t nearly easy next-generation fashions.
The R8 is an icon of the model just like the TT, and just like the Quattro was. However icons of the previous aren’t essentially icons of the long run. We’re a successor for the R8. However not simply an R8 with a plug-and-play electrical engine. It must be an R8 however completely different. The identical holds true with the TT. Clients have modified, and the world has modified towards roadsters.
Audi has all the time performed emotional fashions. See our idea and imaginative and prescient vehicles. We’ve concepts. There’s extra to return. We’ve to have icons for the long run.
j-a: A contemporary A2 might match our time?
HW: The A2 was exceptional. Using area and know-how have been forward of its time. Keep tuned, I would say.
j-a: Audi has had fuel-cell ideas earlier than. How does that match into your electrified future now?
HW: My view is that there isn’t any use case for hydrogen in personal vehicles. The infrastructure and too many different arguments are towards it. Audi wants a technical focus, and that is battery automobiles.
Hildegard Wortmann was born in Münster.
After graduating as a state-certified overseas language correspondent and finding out enterprise administration on the College of Münster, Hildegard Wortmann began her profession at Unilever in 1990. She held varied positions there together with Product and Model Supervisor and was later Advertising and marketing Director for Calvin Klein. Throughout her work with the corporate she gained worldwide expertise, together with London and New York. Alongside her skilled profession she accomplished an MBA in London.
In 1998 she moved to the BMW Group, the place she led the relaunch of the MINI model as Head of Model Communication. Her different skilled positions at BMW included advertising and marketing pre-development, innovation initiatives, product administration and after-sales.
From 2010 to 2017 she was liable for international product administration for BMW. As well as, from 2016 she assumed the general model accountability for the BMW model.
With the event and launch of the electrical model BMW i, Hildegard Wortmann positioned a decisive deal with e-mobility.
In January 2018 she moved to Singapore, the place she was liable for the Asia-Pacific gross sales area.
Hildegard Wortmann has been the Member of the Board of Administration of AUDI AG for Gross sales and Advertising and marketing since July 1, 2019.