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Good Hustle, Herbert: VW boots CEO for poor handling of software division, severe delays result

Toronto, Ontario — Bloomberg reported on Monday that a series of software setbacks at Volkswagen have caused the company to give its CEO the boot as it now faces severe delays in the launch of new Porsche, Audi and Bentley vehicles.

In a move that surely speaks to the current desperation among automakers to get their products on the road, Herbert Diess’ sudden departure from the German car giant is seen as directly linked his apparent inability to deliver effective software to customers, first with the rough rollout of VW’s ID models, which the company is still working to correct, and now with software issues being detected again in newer models across the OEM’s multiple brands.

In December, VW tasked Diess with taking over and revamping the company’s software unit, Cariad, but is seen by many industry analysts to have made little progress.

“Taking over the ship at Cariad seems to have been Diess’s downfall,” said Matthias Schmidt, an independent auto analyst based in Berlin.

The issues around software for VW have significantly impacted the company’s ability to roll out new vehicles, including the new electric Porsche Macan. Similarly, Audi has been forced to delay the launch of its new Artemis line of EVs by two years to 2027, and Bentley likely won’t be offering any electric options until the next decade, according to reporting from Automobilwoche.

Diess did make efforts to fix VW’s software woes, announcing a $91 billion investment in software over the next five years, according to the company’s latest spending plan, as well as plans to employ 10,000 people in its software division.

For now, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume will take up the head of the company and its software development efforts. Blume is credited as being instrumental in bringing Porsche’s first electric model, the Taycan, to market back in 2015.

“They should have head-hunted the best people from Silicon Valley,” said Schmidt.

“You can’t lead on software with automotive people.”

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