FRANKFURT -- Audi plans to eliminate one layer of management or about 10 percent of the division's executive positions in a cost cutting drive, CEO Bram Schot told German newspaper Handelsblatt.
The automaker is reducing the number of engine types following its problems with Europe's new WLTP testing regime and is also in talks with shop stewards about stopping the night shift at its Ingolstadt factory in Germany, Schot told the paper in an interview.
"One thing is clear, our cost base is too high," Schot was quoted as saying.
He reaffirmed a target for a total of 15 billion euros ($17 billion) in cost savings through 2022.
Audi's global sales fell 3 percent last month, dragged down by an 8.5 percent fall in Europe. The brand has been hit in the region by the introduction of the Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), which came into force on September 1. The automaker suffered delivery bottlenecks in adapting its models to comply with the new regulation.
Schot said Audi's WLTP problems were partly caused by engine complexity. "We have discontinued engines and variants built specifically for a few markets. Overall, we have reduced complexity by around 30 percent. We can no longer afford models and equipment that are bought by customers infrequently," he told Handelsblatt.
Audi has been hit hard by Volkswagen Group's diesel-cheating scandal that started at Audi and led to the loss of key executives.
Schot said he aims to change the company's culture to reduce hierarchical power structures and make the automaker "more open, more feminine and younger."
He said he wanted to give China, Audi's most biggest market, more importance by developing the new strategy that will look more closely at its rivals, BMW and Daimler.
Audi said in December it would invest $15.9 billion through 2023 in electric mobility, digitalization and autonomous driving. The division is at risk of losing its position as VW' Group's leading development center as the parent explores potential technology alliances with Ford and other rivals.
By 2025, Audi plans to sell 12 full-electric cars. It aims to sell about 800,000 full-electric or plug-in hybrid models a year by that date, a third of its volume. Schot said he now wants to achieve the goal "one to two years earlier."
Automotive News Europe contributed to this report