Dhe world of automotive manufacturing is changing, with serious consequences for factories and employees. Software moves to the center of the development, vehicle construction is largely reduced to the load-bearing and visible shell. This was made clear by VW development director Thomas Ulbrich in a background discussion. “From hardware first to software first,” he calls it. Significant advances in development time should go hand in hand, and it should drop from 54 months to 40 months. However, provided that the basic architecture of the software is in place.
Volkswagen has had its problems with this recently, the trouble at the start of the Golf and the electric ID family must be a warning, otherwise VW will lose its most loyal customers. A lot will change for the factory, suppliers and customers, for example the selection of variants. According to Ulbrich, the Golf is available in around 10 million configurations. For the Trinity model, the lighthouse project planned for 2026 in the form of an electrically powered sedan, only 140 are promised. The reduction in complexity will reorganize production processes, and the focus on software will challenge employees. 40 to 60 percent of the workforce will have a different job ahead of them.
VW wants to retrain 4,000 employees on completely new work content, and another 8,000 are to learn new qualifications. The metalworker becomes the vehicle technology commissioning engineer. VW says true customization will come via software in the future, and hardware will be standardized. But there will be no standard car. Hopefully.
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