Audi and coronavirus: an interview with Peter Kössler, Member of the Board for Production
Audi is gradually starting production again in Europe. Is Audi returning to “business as usual” then?
Peter Kössler: It’s heartbreaking for me each day to see that there is not even a single car on the assembly line. In more than the 30 years that I’ve been working at Audi I’ve never experienced such a thing. I’m therefore very pleased to announce that we are starting production again. This is excellent news and a first important step on the way back to normality. We must now keep looking forward, as we cannot afford to wait for the pandemic to end for financial and social reasons.
What is now needed for a successful restart?
It is important that we now carefully and cautiously restart according to the jointly agreed plan. And to give top priority to the protection of all our employees. Not only the colleagues on the assembly line, who are now building the first cars again, but also our procurement, HR and sales experts are crucial for a successful restart. The latter, in particular, are also using innovative digital solutions in these challenging times to ensure that our dealers can sell our vehicles worldwide. Despite all the uncertainty in these times, there is one thing I am absolutely certain of: together, we will succeed .
You have headed the Audi Group's international crisis team since the corona crisis began. How satisfied are you with the handling of the crisis in these challenging times?
We have regularly taken appropriate measures to prepare for times of crisis at Audi. This has helped us to respond quickly and to set up a crisis management team that can handle the situation. Our International Crisis Management Team, made up of highly competent and experienced staff members from all relevant areas, originally met up once a day, now it is twice a week. Together they have developed a new roadmap. There has always been close collaboration between them and the Volkswagen Group. This has enabled us to act quickly and make prompt decisions. This is particularly important because the situation changes daily and at the same time different conditions prevail in many of our markets.
What makes you confident in these times?
As so often, I see the Audi staff as a strong team that pulls together in times of crisis while at the same time maintaining social distancing. It's remarkable to see the flexibility, commitment and care with which everyone is pulling together and, above all, getting things back on track. I am extremely grateful to them.
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