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Audi workers call for job guarantee in Germany

Audi’s German workers want the company to build EVs in Germany. A production version of the e-tron quattro concept, shown, will be produced in Belgium.

Photo credit: Audi


October 6, 2016 11:09 CET

BERLIN — Audi’s labor boss has called on the automaker’s top management to build more electric models in Germany and extend a job guarantee for workers in its home market beyond 2018.

Audi, which like its parent Volkswagen Group is grappling with the fallout from the group’s emissions-cheating scandal, must prolong a job guarantee for its 60,000 Germany-based staff as it pursues a strategic overhaul, works council chief Peter Mosch said.

Audi plans to invest about a third of its r&d budget into electric cars, digital services and autonomous driving and wants zero-emission vehicles to account for at least a quarter of its sales by 2025, mirroring plans by Volkswagen.

At the same time, the luxury division’s key factory in Ingolstadt, where about half of Audi’s global workforce of 85,000 is employed, faces production changes as it will lose the Q5 SUV to a new Mexican plant while accommodating the new Q2 crossover model. Ingolstadt also builds Audi A3, A4 and A5 models, according to the Automotive News Europe plant assembly map.

“In these stressed times one thing must be safe and that’s employment of the Audi workers,” Mosch told a gathering of more than 8,000 workers in Ingolstadt on Wednesday.

Employment guarantees for the 60,000 workers in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, where Audi makes high-end models such as the A8 and the R8 alongside smaller models such as the A4, A5, A6 and A7, are due to expire in 2018.

German workers have grown concerned about their jobs ever since Audi said in January it would use its factory in Brussels to build its first mass-produced electric vehicle, a model based on the e-tron quattro SUV concept, and make the site a key plant for electric mobility within the VW Group.

To allay those fears, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler offered on Wednesday to hold bilateral talks with labor leaders in the coming weeks on the future of German plants, orders and projects.

“The German Audi factories must now stand in the center of the new era of mobility,” said Mosch, who sits on the supervisory boards of both VW Group and Audi. “We must now draw the right conclusion from this situation and take action.”

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