In the past 18 months, Volkswagen announced delays in the launch of two crucial models, first the eighth generation of its perennial bestseller, the VW Golf, and then its flagship electric car, the ID.3, both due to glitches in software. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen Group, was asked to give up his role as VW brand chief, in part because of these slipups.
Executives at the giant German automaker were aware of their limitations. Mr. Diess had acknowledged the company’s inadequate software capabilities saying, “Tesla belongs among the competitors which has abilities that we currently do not have. Around half of Tesla’s engineers are software experts, while at VW’s core brand it is a much lower proportion.” And board member Jürgen Stackmann stated, “We’ve never hid the fact that software, an area of extreme importance for products in the future is a serious challenge for