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[NEWS] Blume: Volkswagen Group to become a "design-driven company"

Blume: Volkswagen Group to become a "design-driven company"

ID GTI Concept Exterior Sketches
The Volkswagen ID GTI concept (right) was unveiled at the Munich motor show

Design now central in bid to provide more consistent brand message and greater brand differentiation, says CEO

Oliver Blume has laid out his plans for the Volkswagen Group in an address to the media on the eve of the 2023 Munich motor show, confirming design is set to become a key pillar in the company’s operations in the future.

In the address, made a year after he succeeded Herbert Diess as CEO of the German car maker, the 55-year-old German revealed that design is set to take on an even more important role within the Volkswagen Group as part of a broader ten-point plan aimed at navigating the company through the transformation from traditional internal combustion engine models to more contemporary electric-powered models.

Reflecting on the Volkswagen Group’s efforts to provide greater differentiation between each of its individual car brands, which include Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Škoda, Seat, Cupra, Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, Porsche and Scout, Blume said design is one of the most critical factors in determining success.

“With sharpened design identities, we create distinctive products and enhance brand differentiation. In exterior, interior, and digital presence. The Volkswagen Group is becoming a design-driven company," he told journalists an other media representatives.

Against a backdrop of the Volkswagen brand’s new ID. GTI Concept and Cupra DarkRebel show car, Blume said the Volkswagen Group’s new design-led approach will “aim for high design quality and strong brand differentiation”.

Cupra DarkRebel concept

“The design strategy focuses on the evolution of established model lines, electric technology beacons, and product icons of the Volkswagen Group," he added.

Further points within the ten-point plan referred to by Blume include an improved platform strategy and more competitive technology profile, advancing the “in China for China” strategy with local Chinese partners, and a growth plan for the USA, including the relaunch of the Scout brand with electric models featuring a unique design for the North American market.

Blume, who is also CEO of Porsche, also said the Volkswagen Group board had developed a “refined portfolio plan for the company’s CARIAD software division. He also referred to the ramp-up of its battery production division PowerCo, and the recent decision to establish a new battery gigafactory in Canada, the introduction of an integrated mobility platform under Moia.

Speaking to Autocar about the renewed focus on design, the head of the Volkswagen Group’s design operations, Michael Mauer, said efforts are being made to ensure the individual design bosses at each of the company’s brands work closer with their respective CEOs.

"Design works because it translates what a brand is at its core. Through direct exchange with the CEO, a comprehensive implementation of design principles for a consistent brand experience will be ensured - from corporate presence to products and digital offerings for each brand. The focus remains consistently on the customer and the product,” said Mauer, who is also the design boss at Porsche.

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