Tesla Hires Audi Production Exec To Oversee Ramp Of Model 3

1 year ago by Steven Loveday 31

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Peter Hochholdinger, a previous Audi executive, was hired by Tesla as the company’s new Vice President of Vehicle Production this past weekend.

Two senior production managers, Vice President of Production, Greg Reichow, and Vice President of Manufacturing, Josh Ensign, recently left Tesla, so plans were made to fill the void. Hochholdinger’s expertise and experience should prove valuable to Tesla’s mounting production expectations.

Peter Hochholdinger To Bring Production Knowledge From Audi To Tesla's California Facility

Peter Hochholdinger To Bring Production Knowledge From Audi To Tesla’s California Facility

Hochholdinger worked for Audi for 22 years. His most recent position was production head  for the A4 and A5 models, along with the Q5 SUV.

Tesla recently made a statement on the hire:

Peter Hochholdinger is joining Tesla as VP of Vehicle Production. At Tesla, Peter will be responsible for continuing to increase and improve Model S and Model X production, as well as help build a scalable, cost-effective and quality manufacturing program specifically designed for Model 3.

Peter joins Tesla from Audi where he has spent the last 22 years working across the entire production chain. He is currently responsible for leading the production of Audi’s A4, A5 and Q5 vehicles, including 14 derivatives of those models, at Audi’s flagship production facility for volume and technology. In total, Peter is responsible for the production of about 400,000 vehicles annually at Audi while managing thousands of employees. Peter has also been serving as an advisor for bringing Audi’s new production facility online in Mexico, guiding the implementation of the production processes that are responsible for the standard of quality expected at Audi.

Tesla is excited to have Peter join the team.

At Tesla, Hochholdinger will be the main person responsible for Model S and Model X production. At the same time, he will be working to get the processes ready for the production of the Model 3.

His main responsibilities will be to increase production through implementing “tried and true”, cost-effective systems that his experience warrants.

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31 responses to "Tesla Hires Audi Production Exec To Oversee Ramp Of Model 3"

  1. Kdawg says:

    What size sleeping bag does he need?

    1. CDAVIS says:

      +1

      1. Just_Chris says:

        maybe he’ll introduce a bit of German working culture, you know, crazy things like planning a head and making things are done properly in the first place 🙂

  2. Four Electrics says:

    This is really, really good news for Tesla. Audi’s build quality is top notch. This will likely have Tesla from a torrent of repair costs and bad press around the Model 3, and allow them to make do with the service center expansion plan they currently have.

    It finally appears that Tesla’s prospects have blossomed to the point where they are able to attract real talent instead of the typical startup lot (naive wankers). After a dozen or more build issues with my X, some of them egregious, I am finally excited about the expected build quality of the 3. As a stock play, Tesla now begins to look reasonable.

    Next up: getting their software house in order. “Leg crusher mode” has got to go!

    1. arne-nl says:

      Please be accurate.

      Around the time of the Model S launch, Tesla had a.o. Jerome Guillen (a former Daimler hotshot) and George Blankenship on the team. And there must have been others who had earned their stripes before joining Tesla.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yeah, it’s pretty clueless to say that Tesla is only now getting around to hiring top people who have experience overseeing production at major auto makers. That happened even before the Roadster went into production. No company could earn more “best car of the year” awards in such a short time than any other auto maker, as Tesla has done, from production overseen by inept “wankers”!

        ::rolling eyes::

        1. Four Electrics says:

          Many reviewers were initially wowed by the electric powertrain, to be sure. And then over time they found many problems, e.g. Edmunds, Consumer Reports. Designing an electric car is easier than an ICE, but manufacturing is never easy.

          I’m curious to hear alternative explanations as to how Tesla’s cadre of experienced automakers screwed up so badly on the Roadster (re: George Clooney et al), initial S manufacturing, long term S powertrain reliability, X delays, and initial X quality. Pehaps you could name specific people.

          1. Four Electrics says:

            I would further dispute the phrasing that Tesla never “got around” to hiring experienced manufacturing executives. Tesla has *always* wanted to hire seasoned hands–however, until now proven talent has been unwilling to leave their high status jobs at other automakers. Tesla has been able to snap up a few scraps here and there, sure, but nothing at his level. That’s what makes this hire such a watershed event: the great ones are now saying “yes.”

      2. jmac says:

        If recollection serves me right, Tesla hired an experience German millwright to help set up the Model S production line.

      3. Four Electrics says:

        Before Tesla, Blankenship worked in real estate and The Gap. Jerome Guillen worked in biz dev. and in trucking. They’re not in the same class.

        1. Josh says:

          Blankenship was the head of Retail for Apple. He executed Job’s vision of the Apple Store.

        2. arne-nl says:

          Add Franz von Holzhausen to the list. He wasn’t exactly a rooky when joining Tesla.

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Will Elon be able to actually delegate authority to this guy, rather than indulging in his tendency to micro-manage everything, slowing down development with his perfectionism and his tendency to make changes which require restarting many things from scratch?

    If Elon can resist his tendency to meddle, I think that will go a long way to reducing the delays Tesla keeps having in getting its cars into production.

    1. Four Electrics says:

      One can only hope that Elon is now more excited by shipping quality cars (quickly and in large numbers) than adding whiz bang features. I think there is a good chance that he can make this transition, because the 3 is the low end car. If he wants to add some shiney new thing, he can get it out of his system tweaking the S or the X. If it works out, it can trickle down later.

      1. Anon says:

        There is still time to add fancy auto retracting spaceship-looking controls…

    2. wavelet says:

      This will be interesting….
      As accomplished as Hochholdinger may be, I suspect it’ll be very difficult for him to fit in Silicon Valley culture.
      He’s a pure-Audi guy… Never even worked at one of the other VW Group brands, let alobe another European manufacturer or a non-Euro one. I hope this works out well.

    3. RF says:

      The most important role Steve Jobs played at apple was picky customer avitar…

  4. Taser54 says:

    Interesting that people are lauding this decision but excoriating Audi for its electic cat production.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      More actual production of long-range EVs would lead to a lot less excoriating of VW and Audi.

      Audi and VW ramping up lip service, without any real follow-through in selling compelling EVs, does not. And after VW’s major scandal, the faux “clean diesel” scandal, there is good reason to be rather skeptical of claims for “greener” cars made by a subsidiary of VW.

    2. MTN Ranger says:

      Wouldn’t “electric cat” production be Jaguar’s domain?

  5. Alaa says:

    Fresh blood. I am sure that the Model 3 will be produced in 2016. Remember that Elon did not know how many reservations Tesla got for the Model 3 when he said that production will start 2017. At the end of the show he was very excited when he told us that they got 115,000 reservations. I am sure that as I type this there are people reserving the M3 and they must be over 400,000 if not more. So when Elon says that they will ramp up production it means that they will not only produce more than what they expected but earlier too. I say this since Tesla announced that they will make 500,000 at 2018 not 2020. Two years earlier than expected. Now put all these together, fresh blood, unexpected response and a huge number of reservations, more than $400 million in cash then we get a signal that production will start earlier than 2017. So 2016 has about 6 months left. So The question that I have now is about demand. What will happen to demand once Tesla sells 500,000 cars by 2018? In fact it is even more important to know what will happen to demand in 2017? These questions point out to me that there will be a need for at least a second factory. It is not a secret that Elon wants to build a second factory in Europe. And this German man that he hired will be a fantastic help for the new factory in Europe.

    So the bottom line, production of the M3 will start in 2016, and a new factory is on the way.

    And the stock is dirt cheap at around $200!

    1. Mxs says:

      Your post are losing credibility faster than Cali drinking water.

      I am surprised you haven’t written that the production started already, Musk is just stock piling the model 3 units somewhere in area 51, right??

  6. Pete says:

    Shows that US car manufactures can’t build cars without German competence :-).

    1. pjwood1 says:

      The double wishbones, Bilstein dampers, and Continental sourced air spring assemblies show Tesla has, in a number of ways, been a German car all along.

      They were smart about which ingredients they plucked. I’ve had 9 German cars in my past, with Bilstein being the exception not the rule. Frequently, even with Porsche, you get Sachs. No comparison, but we know how VWG is mindful of its margins these days.

  7. Mister G says:

    Elon needs to watch this guy…he might sabotage Tesla.

    1. Mxs says:

      Smart, eh?

  8. Wade Yorke says:

    Nice move. After Mr. Hochholdinger sets up the Fremont line for the Model III, he could return to Europe to duplicate the line in a new Tesla European factory. He has European sub- supplier contacts and will likely attract fellow VW/Audi executives to Tesla who could put in 2 or 3 years of US duty before returning to a new Tesla European factory. This short stint in the US and then a return to Europe (if desired) would allow Tesla a greater chance of retaining European hires.

    Autocar reports that all Audi models from the A4 up will be constructed with a hybrid aluminum structure which includes high strength steel for B-pillars, and lightweight carbon reinforced plastic for hood and trunk lid. The Model III is said to have similar construction, so being familiar with the assembly of these components should help.

  9. tftf says:

    He will likely revise the timeplan (delay the Model3 again) or leave Tesla agan in 12-18 months.

    The timeplan/ramp just isn’t realistic.

    1. Mxs says:

      It is, but you must belief ….. unconditionally and without experts telling them otherwise, preferably.

  10. Speculawyer says:

    This Peter is a brave man.

    He is walking into one HUGE project.