Wolfsburg headquarters, Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer outlined important milestones of the program, such as streamlining and accelerating administrative processes, increasing efficiency in development and production, streamlining the model range, and at the same time reducing the number of equipment variants and further improving product quality. Volkswagen is setting up a Project Management Office (PMO) to develop and manage the program. Stephan Wöllenstein, top manager at VW, will take over its management. The program is to be implemented in close consultation with the employee representatives. All measures should be up and running by October 2023.
At its core, in 2026 alone, “ACCELERATE FORWARD | Road to 6.5” is expected to improve earnings by around 10 billion euros in order to sustainably realize a return on sales of 6.5 percent. The program will be implemented at two levels. The first level entails major action areas within the brand: administration, technical development, material costs, products, price/mix, vehicle construction as well as sales and quality. Each action area will pursue specific goals and measures and thus help to achieve the program’s objectives in terms of costs and revenues. In addition, ACCELERATE FORWARD will follow a new, collaborative strategy on a second level of measures: flagship projects spanning multiple action areas will ensure greater efficiency and increase profits. The focus here will be on aspects such as reducing complexity and the number of variants, the sales model, reducing red tape, as well as product and yield optimization in the two primary toolkits, the Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) and the Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB).
Schäfer gave the first concrete examples at the works meeting: Volkswagen intends to focus more on volume models. Lower-volume models like the VW Arteon will be discontinued. Schäfer: “We will focus on a small number of – though genuine – Volkswagen core models. This will reduce complexity and deliver higher profits.” Reducing the number of variants provides another opportunity: For the ID.7, for example, this means 99 percent fewer configuration options compared to a Golf 7. In addition, the Company intends to optimize the plant capacity utilization in order to increase profitability and be able to respond more flexibly to fluctuations in demand and the market in the future.
The decision of the VW Board of Management to launch “ACCELERATE FORWARD | Road to 6.5” follows an analysis of the very challenging market environment and the economic situation. Schäfer: “The program is the number one priority for the entire Board of Management. We must build new strength for the Volkswagen brand and position it robustly for future growth, which is why we are now getting an enormous concerted effort off the ground. We need to achieve a sustainable return on sales of 6.5 percent in the Volkswagen brand. Achieving this in 2026 is very ambitious, but feasible if we pool our efforts. This will enable us to safeguard jobs, finance our future from our own resources and continue to invest in new vehicles and technologies, in the modernization of our plants and in staff training.” Schäfer reveals the keys to this: “Leveraging synergies and becoming more efficient, faster and more effective across all divisions of the Company. Stephan Wöllenstein is one of the most experienced international managers we could have chosen to manage this core program. With “ACCELERATE FORWARD | Road to 6.5” we will collectively lay the foundations for successful implementation of our brand strategy.”