Volkswagen Group has made a significant shift in its leadership team, as the company’s design boss is being replaced due to a conflict of opinions with CEO Herbert Diess. It is alleged that Diess wanted to make changes to the electric vehicles (EVs) currently in production, while the design boss wanted to maintain the original designs. The move comes amid increasing scrutiny and criticism of Volkswagen’s EVs, which have been criticized for lacking the innovation of their competitors. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what this shake-up means for VW’s brand design team and what it could mean for their future EV lineup.
VW Brand Design Boss ousted over EV design differences with CEO
In a surprise move, Volkswagen’s brand design boss, Klaus Bischoff, has been ousted from his position. The company announced that Bischoff would be replaced by Svenja Gehrmann, effective immediately.
The move comes amid reports of disagreements between Bischoff and VW CEO Herbert Diess over the design of the company’s upcoming electric vehicles. Sources close to the matter claim that Bischoff was against Diess’ vision for a more radical, futuristic design language for VW’s EVs, preferring a more conservative approach.
With Gehrmann now in charge, it remains to be seen how she will steer the design direction of VW’s electric vehicles. However, her appointment does signal a shift in the company’s priorities towards developing its EV offerings.
What the design differences were
Under the leadership of former design boss Walter de’Silva, Volkswagen AG made a strategic decision to move all its brands – VW, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Bugatti – in the same design direction. The thinking was that customers would increasingly cross-shop between brands, and so it made sense for them to have a unified look.
However, current VW brand design chief Klaus Bischoff has taken a different approach. Bischoff believes that each brand should have its own unique identity – something that de’Silva’s unified design strategy did not allow for.
One area where this difference in philosophy has played out is in the area of electric vehicles (EVs). Bischoff has been a vocal advocate for making EVs that are clearly differentiated from regular petrol-powered cars. He has argued that EV customers are likely to be early adopters who want their car to make a statement about their values and lifestyle choices.
This difference of opinion came to a head earlier this year when Bischoff publicly contradicted VW Group CEO Herbert Diess over the question of whether Audi and Porsche should make different designs for their upcoming EVs. Diess had said that there was no need for different designs, as the underlying technology would be the same. Bischoff disagreed, arguing that customers would expect different looks for different brands.