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Volkswagen AG Creates a New Division to Focus on Vehicle Software & Services

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【Summary】As automobiles become internet connected devices filled with more high-tech features, an increasing focus of automakers is on passenger experience and mobility services rather than a vehicle’s mechanical systems. To support this effort, German automaker Volkswagen AG created a new division named “Digital Car and Services”. The new division will focus on bringing more robust software into Volkswagen AG vehicles to provide a better mobility experience to passengers.

Eric Walz    Feb 25, 2019 3:00 PM PT
Volkswagen AG Creates a New Division to Focus on Vehicle Software & Services

As automobiles become internet connected devices filled with more high-tech features, an increasing focus of automakers is on passenger experience and mobility services rather than a vehicle's mechanical systems. This is especially true with fully-electric vehicles that may one day shuttle passengers around autonomously.

To support this effort, German automaker Volkswagen AG created a new division named "Digital Car and Services". The new division will focus on bringing more robust software into Volkswagen AG vehicles to provide a better mobility experience to passengers. Its a focus echoed by Volkswagen CEO and board chairman Dr. Herbert Diess.

In a blog post last month, Diess wrote that "The car will become the most complex internet device we have known so far, the car will become a software product. For that reason we have to become a software-driven car company."

To lead the new division, the automaker appointed Christian Senger as head of its Digital Car & Services arm beginning on March 1. Senger will also become a member of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars Board of Management. Singer will be responsible for the coordination and design of the Volkswagen Group's digital activities, including software.

In a statement, Diess said that "The share of software in vehicles is surging, it accounts for an ever-growing proportion of total value added, and therefore has a significant impact on the performance and characteristics of our vehicles. That is why we are fundamentally strengthening software development at Volkswagen."

The new Board function is tasked with bundling software activities and strengthening the digital overall experience through the customer-centric development of the automaker's brands, which includes Audi, Porsche, and Skoda.

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Volkswagen's ID lineup will consist of many new fully-electric models built on the MEB platform.

Senger's responsibilities include developing for "full software stack" spanning all vehicle lineups and future mobility services at Volkswagen AG. The collaboration on software concepts and intelligent mobility concepts creates a powerful foundation for all of the automaker's future models.

Senger previously headed the Volkswagen brand's e-Mobility Product Line, where, according to Volkswagen, he was instrumental in driving the brand's electric offensive forward.

One of Senger's most important contributions was the development of Volkswagen's MEB platform, which will be the foundation for a line of new electric models. VW says it's an entirely new way to build vehicles.

The new architecture consolidates all of the vehicle's electronics controls. The MEB platform includes all of the wiring, powertrain components and batteries which reduces complexity and the number of microprocessors.

Volkswagen is investing up to $50 billion to release up to 50 new electric vehicles globally by 2025. The automaker said that 25 percent of its models with be fully-electric by then.  

The automaker claims to have the capacity to manufacture up to 10 million EVs on its new MEB platform.

Volkswagen's new Digital Car and Services division is part of a broader expansion to provide new mobility service and connectivity features in its future models. The automaker is investing $4 billion to develop an operating system (OS) for its vehicles called "vw.OS".

The Volkswagen brand is also developing its own Volkswagen Automotive Cloud ecosystem together with Microsoft that will securely link together the connected vehicle, the cloud-based platform and digital services.

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Volkswagen is developing its own cloud-based ecosystem together with Microsoft.

In Oct 2018, Volkswagen announced it acquired a 49 percent stake in diconium to serve as a technology partner as part of its digitization efforts. The deal will provide VW customers with digital value-added services quickly and easily for their vehicles, which will then be fully connected.

Prior to joining Volkswagen in 2016, Senger held several senior management roles, including responsibility for Systems & Technology at Continental Automotive GmbH, New Vehicle Concepts & Special Vehicles, Energy Management, and Total Vehicle Concepts Engineering at BMW AG.

In addition to adding a new division focused of vehicle software, Volkswagen hopes to become an attractive employer in order to recruit top tech talent, including digital service developers and software engineers.

Volkswagen said it will name a successor to replace Senger as head of the company's e-mobility product line sometime in the near future.

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