Successful model of dual training: some 800 young people to start at the Audi sites in Germany

The first working day for 531 new apprentices at the plant in Ingolstadt is September 11. In Neckarsulm, training starts for 273 young people three days earlier, on September 8. This year, the company is offering vocational training in 20 occupations. Most of the apprenticeships will be in mechatronics, production mechanics or auto mechatronics. The proportion of young women is approximately 30 percent, as in the previous year.

“With good basic qualifications, we offer optimal starting conditions for a successful career to young people at our plants in Germany,” stated Dieter Omert, head of vocational training and specialist competence development. In addition to specialist knowledge, teaching apprentices how to learn is becoming increasingly important. “In view of rapid technological changes, our apprentices will continually participate in further training and development after their apprenticeships,” pointed out Omert. Self‑managed learning, with tablet support for example, as well as project work in teams, therefore play a major role in vocational training at Audi. Creative methods such as design thinking and scrums are also part of the training program.

In the opinion of the Director of the General Works Council, these innovative training methods are a key step into the future, when digital competences at work will be more important than ever. “We consistently place priority on up‑to‑date training methods. Because both sides profit from good vocational training – the apprentices themselves and the company as well,” said Klaus Mittermaier.

In addition to the apprentices, 39 young people will start their careers with dual courses of study in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm. And for the first time, this includes young people studying for a master’s degree on the “Audi dual” program. They will learn key competences in applied informatics on their master’s study course at the Technical University of Ingolstadt. The Technical University of Munich offers a master’s course in robotics, cognition and intelligence. Young people studying for a bachelor’s degree in the “Audi dual” program will attend the Technical University of Ingolstadt in combination with practical periods at the premium car manufacturer. In addition to internships during the semester breaks and periods for their final dissertations, both master’s and bachelor’s students will spend a practical semester at Audi. At Audi’s site in Neckarsulm, dual courses of study for a bachelor’s degree are available in cooperation with the Baden‑Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW).

Audi will offer a permanent job to all of the young people who successfully complete their dual vocational training or dual course of study. In 2017, the company has so far taken on 626 successful trainees in Ingolstadt und Neckarsulm. Young people who decide after their training on a course of study or external further education receive a commitment on employment after that period.

These and many other factors were taken into consideration in 2017 once again in the study “Germany’s best training enterprises” by the magazine Focus Money. In the automobile category, Audi took first place for the second time in succession.

The deadline for applications for training year 2018 is September 24, 2017 in Ingolstadt and September 17, 2017 in Neckarsulm. Interested school students can have a look behind the carmaker’s scenes on the website www.BePart.Audi. With many playful elements and a 3D experience, Audi caters for the expectations of today’s young people. Furthermore, a matching tool helps young people who are still undecided on their future career direction. 

Audi launches Virtual Reality technology in dealerships

“With the VR experience we have developed a full-fledged sales tool for Audi dealers. It offers our customers more information and certainty when making their purchasing decision, as well as a special excitement factor,” says Nils Wollny, Head of Digital Business Strategy/Customer Experience at AUDI AG. “With this, we are taking the next step in our strategy to combine digital innovation with the strengths of the bricks-and-mortar dealership.”

Digital technologies like the VR headset allow dealers for the first time to present the entire Audi model range, including all equipment options, during the customer dialogue. Originating at Audi City, the digital showroom concept for downtown locations, the brand is bringing a variety of digital solutions to dealerships throughout the markets. More than 400 “Customer Private Lounges” – a digitalized consulting suite – are already in use, and additional locations coming soon. The new VR experience adds to the dealer’s digital toolbox.

With the VR headset, prospective buyers can configure their individual dream car and explore even the smallest details from an extremely realistic perspective, selecting from several hundred million possible models and equipment variants. The VR application allows users to become completely immersed in the virtual world, conveying an all-encompassing, detailed image prior to the purchase decision. The configured Audi is experienced in three dimensions and 360 degrees, with all light and sound effects. Various environments, times of day, and light conditions also contribute to the true-to-life virtual experience of sitting in the car. The interior can also be observed from every perspective, down to the surface of the decorative inlays, depending on the position relative to the virtual light source.

The visualization through the Audi VR experience is based on the construction data of the Audi models. An “x-ray vision” can therefore allow tech-savvy users to also take a look beneath the surface of the car, into the structure of its technical components. Future VR software upgrades will also offer demo features about Audi innovations that can be tested only to a limited extent during a real test drive – such as different light technologies at night and in poor visibility.

In addition, the VR headset offers customers the chance to experience special Audi moments – an expectation that more and more customers associate with buying a car. Racing fans can, for instance, immerse themselves virtually in the atmosphere of the Le Mans 24 Hours race: reminiscent of Audi victories at this iconic endurance race, the customer gets an up-close experience during a pit stop alongside the crew of mechanics. 

In most markets, dealerships will run the VR application on the Oculus Rift headset from Audi’s primary project partner Oculus. To allow the complex data models to be processed for virtual reality, Audi worked with its strategic visualization partner Zerolight to develop an especially high-performance graphics engine. The Audi VR experience was introduced for the first time in a beta version for test operation in 2015 at selected dealers in Brazil and Germany. Feedback from customers and dealers has enriched the further development of the system.

Virtual reality is used by Audi in numerous areas of the company – from sales and technical development to automotive production. For example, the company uses VR headsets to train logistics employees for their assignments at the worldwide production plants of the four rings. 

Premiere: Four Audi S1 EKS RX quattro in FIA World Rallycross Championship

Racing alongside Rallycross World Champion Mattias Ekström and the other regular EKS drivers, Toomas Heikkinen and Reinis Nitišs, Audi DTM driver Nico Müller is celebrating his World RX debut. “Mattias and I have been teammates in the DTM since 2016,” says Müller. “Consequently, we talk about rallycross as well. I’ve been following the World RX for some time and enjoy the sport and the atmosphere. Racing at the event in France makes a dream come true for me. The 560-hp supercars are awesome and allow tough and thrilling duels. You get addicted to them.”

Ekström adds: “I’m very happy that Nico’s racing with us. I’ve been aiming to put four cars on the grid in the World RX for a long time. That it’s happening in France of all places is fantastic. It’s one of my absolute favorite rounds. 80,000 spectators and a tremendous track. For drivers and fans, Lohéac is a rallycross paradise.” The track is a classic circuit because the soil is very hard even in the gravel sections. There are many very fast sections where overtaking is possible when drivers brake before entering them. The long parallel drive on the normal route and on the Joker lap is spectacular.

“The circuit is incredibly varied and France is one of my favorite countries,” says Toomas Heikkinen. “The people are super-friendly, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is breath-taking.” Reinis Nitišs expresses similar views: “Finally, the wait is over. A four-week break since the last race has been a long time. We’re superbly prepared and intend to cause a sensation as a foursome in France.” For the first time in the 2017 season, the maximum number of 25 drivers will be on the World RX grid. In addition to the 18 permanent drivers, there will be seven single entrants.

Audi appoints four new Board of Management members

Alexander Seitz (55) will succeed to Axel Strotbek, who has been Board of Management Member for Finance, IT and Integrity at Audi since 2007. Seitz began his career at Daimler-Benz AG, where he held several positions in the financial and commercial area as well as in strategy and procurement. In 2005, he moved to Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg as Head of Group Procurement Powertrain. Following positions for the Group in South America, he was appointed First Vice President and Commercial Executive Vice President of SAIC Volkswagen in 2013.

The successor to Dr. Dietmar Voggenreiter as Board of Management Member for Marketing and Sales will be Bram Schot (56). Born in the Netherlands, he has been a Member of the Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles for the area of Marketing and Sales since 2012. In 2011, he moved from his position as President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Italia to the Volkswagen Group, where he was in charge of strategic projects in the area of Group Sales.

Wendelin Göbel (53) is to be the new Board of Management Member for Human Resources and Organization. He will take over from Thomas Sigi, who has held the position since 2010. Göbel has been Head of the Board of Management’s Office of the Volkswagen Group since 2007 and of the Volkswagen brand between 2007 and 2015. Before that, he held various positions at AUDI AG and in the Volkswagen Group, including in Procurement Project Management. From 2003 until 2007, he was Head of the Board of Management’s Office of AUDI AG as well as a member of the Audi Strategy Committee.

Peter Kössler (58) will be the new Board of Management Member for Production and Logistics. Born in Ingolstadt, he has until now been Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI HUNGARIA Zrt. From 2007 until 2015, he was the director of Audi’s main plant in Ingolstadt. In that position, he was responsible at the site in Ingolstadt for all production-relevant areas and site-specific topics such as plant logistics, environmental protection and plant security. Kössler will take over the Board of Management position from Dr. Hubert Waltl, who has been in charge of Production and Logistics since 2014.

Matthias Müller, Audi Supervisory Board Chairman and VW CEO, thanked the departing Board of Management members for their work: “The departing Board of Management members helped to shape Audi’s positive development. Audi has recently passed through a difficult phase, but has all the prerequisites to be successful also in the mobility world of tomorrow. Together with the workforce, the new team in the Board of Management will systematically push forward with Audi’s transformation towards the future.”

Audi Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler also thanked the departing colleagues for their professional commitment. Stadler emphasized the importance of critically reviewing the current situation together with the Supervisory Board. “Our shared goal with the new Board of Management team and a strong workforce is now to set the course for the future and to systematically move forward with our transformation towards e-mobility, digitization and mobility services. Our growth plan and Strategy 2025 provide the roadmap.”

Peter Mosch, Chairman of the General Works Council and Member of the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG: “The past weeks show that an open and critical dialog is an essential basis for the future of Audi. It has become clear that this is about the consistent orientation of the company. That includes the optimal utilization of the plants’ capacities. The upcoming transformation must be shaped so that both business success and the interests of the workforce are sustainably balanced.”