The Volkswagen Group is slashing 2,000 jobs at its Cariad software division as a part of a strategic restructuring plan, triggering a chain reaction of delays for the development of future electric vehicle platforms, German publication manager magazine reported yesterday.
The group’s board of directors has approved the downsizing, which will occur between 2024 and the end of 2025, said manager magazine, citing leading executives from the group. However, the plan still requires approval from the works council, which has guaranteed jobs for workers till mid-2025, Reuters reported.
Cariad, formed in 2019 under the VW Group, is in charge of building a unified software platform and architecture for all of VW Group’s future EVs.
Due to the restructuring, software architecture 1.2, originally planned for debut in the Porsche Macan EV and Audi Q6 E-Tron, will be delayed by 16 to 18 months. The level 2.0 architecture, initially slated for a 2025 introduction, will be redeveloped from scratch.
Porsche had confirmed an early 2024 release date for the Macan EV, and InsideEVs even reviewed a prototype in California early this month. It’s unclear if the recent announcement will affect the rollout and push back the release dates. The Volkswagen Group and Cariad did not immediately respond to our request for comment at the time of publishing.
The restructuring impacts the next-generation Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) as well, which is also being redeveloped. SSP is a next-generation architecture that VW Group intends to use for a wide range of EVs, from compact VW-badged hatchbacks to high-performance Porsches.
Volkswagen's software issues have been widely publicized, with users reporting system freezes and unresponsive touchscreens on the ID.3, ID.4, and ID.5. Following budget overruns and missed targets, VW Group CEO Oliver Blume made sweeping top-level management changes at Cariad early this year. Its new CEO Peter Bosch has been working on a “comprehensive transformation plan” since summer, according to Reuters.
Software-integrated architectures are integral to modern EVs. Not only are the infotainment systems software dependent, but also the electric motors, batteries, electrical systems, safety features, and driver assistance systems. Most German, American, and Chinese automakers appear to be racing ahead in this department, but the VW Group appears to be navigating a bumpy road ever since the first ID vehicles rolled out.