Audi has concluded a fundamental agreement with its Works Council on economic and forward-looking realignment within the framework of Audi.Zukunft. The decisions are about optimisation of production capacities at two German plants (Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm) and “socially responsible workforce adjustments” while extending job guarantees up to the end of 2029.

Audi says that it must become lean and fit for the future, which means that some job profiles will no longer be needed and new ones will be created. The company and union have agreed to cut up to 9,500 jobs until 2025, and this will take place along the demographic curve – in particular through employee turnover and a what’s described as a new, attractive early-retirement programme.

An equivalent percentage of staff reduction will take place in management. However, Ingolstadt will continue to recruit in the coming years and plans to create up to 2,000 new expert positions in areas such as electric mobility and digitalisation. Those appointments will be made on the principle of internal before external candidates.

The premium carmaker says that it will continue to train young people in key areas of the future, and that the number of apprentices and student trainees at the two German sites will remain at a consistently high level over the next three years.

“With the Audi Transformation Plan, we have already anchored a successful program of measures. And with Audi.Zukunft, we are now also tackling structural issues in order to prepare Audi for the challenges ahead,” says Audi CEO Bram Schot.

“Both sides have proven that the focus is on responsibility for the future of the Four Rings and its employees. Audi.Zukunft secures our sustainable growth. In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient. This will increase productivity and sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of our German plants,” he added.

The six billion euros generated from this move “will secure the strategic targeted return corridor of 9 to 11% and will flow into future projects such as electrification and digitalisation,” Audi said.

A key component of the deal is to allow the economic and future-proof utilisation of production capacities. Annual plant capacity will therefore be planned in Ingolstadt for 450,000 vehicles and in Neckarsulm for 225,000 vehicles. A long-term future perspective is guaranteed by the electric models to be built at both plants in the future.

The Ingolstadt site is currently preparing for the production of premium EVs. In Neckarsulm, the sexy all-electric Audi e-tron GT will already drive off the assembly line as of 2020. The other production lines will also be gradually equipped for electric mobility. “The decisions taken together with the employees are an important and courageous step for the long-term competitiveness and profitability of the Four Rings,” adds Schot.