Volkswagen shakes up software arm Cariad — again

VW Group has switched up the leadership at Cariad once again, just three years since the automaker created the software unit.

On Monday, Cariad’s board replaced its CEO Dirk Hilgenberg with Peter Bosch, who was previously responsible for manufacturing at VW’s Bentley brand. Hilgenberg had been at Cariad since 2020. Bosch is taking over the top spot June 1.

VW has long struggled to launch software in its vehicles. Those missteps were one of the reasons the VW Group CEO Herbert Diess lost his job in 2022. Cariad, formerly called Car.Software Organisation, was created to bring cohesion to software development that would be used across its 10 brands. Software 1.1 version is found in Volkswagen vehicles today. The software 1.2. platform is being developed for Audi and Porsche cars, while the 2.0 version will be an operating system designed for all VW Group brands.

Software has historically been a trouble spot for VW Group. Cariad was formed in 2020 in a bid to reverse that course and develop software-defined vehicles that not only compete with the likes of Tesla but also deliver in-car entertainment and services that generate revenue. VW Group said in 2021 that Cariad could generate as much as €1.2 trillion ($1.4 trillion) in revenue by 2030, via subscriptions and other sales. But missteps have caused a series of shakeups at Cariad, and in part led to VW Group CEO Herbert Diess’ dismissal in 2022.

“Last year, we drew up a ten-point plan for operational and strategic areas of action within the Volkswagen Group. One key element is the realignment of CARIAD, and we have already made good progress, VW Group and chairman of the supervisory board of Cariad Oliver Blume said in a statement. “We are now setting the next milestones for advancing strategic, structural and personnel development. CARIAD focuses on the development of digital future technologies for the Group brands. We are stepping up the pace and broadening our approach to partnerships. This is designed to combine our competences with the best solutions on the market for the benefit of our customers. The outcome is even closer software-vehicle development interaction.”

VW Group is in talks with Hilgenberg and his team about possible new roles within the company, Blume said. He added that Bosch is the ” right CEO at the right time” and noted that he is a strategist, an enabler and a team player.

VW Group is also adding two “acknowledged” and yet unnamed software experts to the board.

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