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VW CEO remains upbeat despite union displeasure

HAMBURG – Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess, now heavily criticized by unions for its strategy, struck an upbeat tone at a recent management meeting over talks over the company’s five-year investment plan. , including the future of the Wolfsburg plant.

According to a transcript of his speech at last week’s meeting, seen by Reuters, Diess said talks with unions were going well and praised the company’s progress on everything from beat US competitors in autonomous driving to drive sales in China.

VW The worst of the supply chain crisis has hit production this year, he added, with volumes starting to increase and the outlook for next year improving.

High-end brands are already sold out next year, Diess said, and orders are already filling up — a better outlook than the company’s third-quarter results a month ago.

“You can see that my mood is very good, because we have made a lot of progress in the last few weeks,” the CEO said.

Diess’ leadership position at Europe’s largest carmaker has been suspended in recent weeks amid tensions over his management style and electrification strategy.

Volkswagen’s supervisory board will meet next Thursday to agree on a five-year investment plan.

But the lead to the meeting was clouded by uncertainty over whether Diess would continue in his position and disagreements over the future of the Wolfsburg plant, which workers fear will be jeopardized. left in the transition to tram.

Two sources close to the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that a decision on whether Diess will stay or go is expected later this week.

Regarding Wolfsburg’s question, management and the works council are discussing assembling the ID.3 electric model at the factory – “it certainly could make sense to produce such a model”, Diess speak.

He promises that the plant will become invisible by 2030, with changes underway that will make it “very competitive with Gruenheide” – Tesla’s The giant electric vehicle factory is just a few hours away, awaiting final approval, which could come online in December.

In recent weeks, Diess has regularly issued warnings about Tesla’s efficiency and speed compared to Volkswagen, voicing concern that the German automaker will quickly fall right behind its own turf.

(Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Jan Harvey and Bernadette Baum)

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