At the auto salon in Geneva, we meet the man with the most difficult Job in the industry: Volkswagen-chief Herbert Diess. He must build according to the diesel scandal, restore confidence, and at the same time the group is in the electric future. The conversation but let’s start with the past: I show him a photo of my VW beetle from 1969.

Herbert Diess: your car still has straps, let alone Airbags! The biggest Innovation was the security: in the past, there was much less traffic, about four times as many Deaths as it is today. And also, the emissions decreased sharply: your beetle emits about as much as 50 or 100 modern cars.

I laugh too ().

safety and environmental protection remain the most important fields. The car is thanks to CO2-free electricity free of emissions. Cameras and Sensors combined with new Software, make the car very safe. It will know where a Parking lot is free, congestion anticipate, so that it can be avoided. In short: The car is in comparison to today, very much more intelligent.

Yes, as long as you want. The car will help you more and more. On the highway, for example, the car will be able to take partially the control. Until we can fully go fully Autonomous, it will take a few years longer.

Possibly. The Numbers will go drastically back, since the vehicles communicate with each other and provide information on hazards.

Many say that we are all in the same like, gray sleeves, the Autonomous driving. I don’t believe in it, because the car is much more than a means of transport. You don’t drive your beetle because you want to conveniently get from point A to point B, but because you press something. The need to differentiate on a car, will also remain in the future.

VW is unique because it is a very complex company with twelve brands and from motorcycles to super sport cars. But I’m not directly 650’000 employees, but in the core of 50 to 100 managers, with whom I am in a very close dialogue. From the claim to leadership, it is not much different than in a smaller company.

I was in the factory, purchasing and development Manager and production Manager and led a sales organization. I was in the car-supplier industry, and during almost twenty years in the case of a premium manufacturer. So, I have had over thirty years to collect a lot of experience. This is a good preparation for Volkswagen.

It is often underestimated that already relentlessly has been cleaned up. Of the Board of Directors, then the responsibility is no longer there. Approximately 60 to 70 executives have left the company, and the processes are re-arranged. A lot has happened since.

This is now analysed very well. A lot of it is in the courts, because the cases are still pending. I’m going to assume that we have already achieved a lot.

He hurts very, because we have lost a lot of confidence. Especially the brand VW, but also Audi suffer greatly. With great efforts and improvements to the vehicles, we have managed to satisfy customers, to keep our position in the market and also re-build trust.

such An Interpretation would go too far for me. The entry prohibitions have causes a lot of times, these are primarily the EU directives and are still discussed very controversial. Of course, we have pushed the emotional debate with our diesel with fraud. But we are not responsible for the Immission protection legislation. Even without the software improvements we’ve made to now, were our cars in the nitrogen oxide emissions of the best ever. We are made wrong for the diesel driving bans responsible.

Volkswagen-chief Herbert Diess (60) leads to the largest car company in the world (230 billion euros in sales, of 10.9 million vehicles per year, with 650000 employees, 123 factories). The Austrians Diess studied automotive engineering and mechanical engineering in Munich (D), worked at Bosch and then almost 20 years at BMW, including head of development. In 2015, he moved to VW and was 2018 Chairman of the Board of management of Volkswagen AG. He is married and has two adult children.

The discussion at least in many cases irrelevant, in the past few months, it has become much more rational. At the beginning we stood in the criticism. Now you ask, whether the Measuring devices are properly positioned or limits be derived. The citizens are fighting back against a relatively arbitrary regulation.

It has already gone. The diesel shares go back up. For larger vehicles and for those with high Annual mileage, the Diesel remains the first choice. He is in the case of CO2 with distance from the front, even compared to electric vehicles, with a very large battery. And he is with Euro 6D and perspective with Euro 7 extremely clean.

The threatened import tariffs of 25 percent are a threat, especially for our premium brands, Porsche and Audi. We try to negotiate with the political organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. We have already decided to make further investments in the US and will increase our capacity there. This is useful for us, because in America one way or the other our biggest potential for growth lies.

Yes, but it also makes sense. And he has a legitimate concern: In the USA there are import duties of 2.5 percent in Europe, ten per cent. From my point of view, you do not need to protect the European car industry with such import customs.

We put on the E drive, because it is the best solution for the environment. We have committed to the Paris climate goals, and our fleet of step-by-step to CO2 change-neutral models. In addition, we have the first automotive manufacturer in the world, the development of hardware and Software separately, since the Latter has cycles much shorter development. Cars work in the future, such as Smartphones. We must respond to this development.

The diesel affair has accelerated the change certainly. What guides us is the debate on climate change. We all would do well to limit global warming to two degrees. The car industry in 2050 CO2 must be neutral. I believe that this is possible.

2019 happens a lot: We come with the Audi E-Tron, which has just deliveries to the first Customers. This is a premium vehicle that drives on par with the Tesla’s of this world. Later in the year, the Porsche Taycan, an extremely sporty electric car. Also of great interest. You can already see today that the premium area is going to work.

The question is actually whether we can make electric mobility for the masses. We come to this next year with the VW ID, a vehicle in the Golf-Size with sufficient range and entry-level prices under a 30’000 Euro. Thus, the electrical mobility of mass is capable of, and it is difficult to decide. Because the electric car has the advantage, that it causes costs to the burners, only about half of the operation.

Up to the cost of manufacture is the same as in the case of an internal combustion engine, it will take a couple of years, because the batteries will remain a major cost block.

power, it has enough. To drive a car an average of an hour a day, so it can be in the remaining 23 hours so loaded that the network is busy, a regular. The decisive factor is how the electricity is produced: electro-mobility only makes sense if the primary produced energy is CO2-free, otherwise you only move the CO2 emissions from the car in the power plants. In France, Norway or Switzerland electro-mobility already today sense, but in Poland, for example, would have to be first, the coal-fired power plants replaced.

The Swiss citizens allow their own opinions and not necessarily hang on to traditions. This makes Switzerland, a pioneer country for electric mobility. Your beetle, you could personalize also elect. After that, he moves much better and is emission free at last. I can recommend you to only think of the climate!