Ms. Cavallo, you have been head of the Volkswagen works council since May, making you one of the most powerful employee representatives in Germany.

The group is in the middle of a restructuring, others would have waved it off.

But you wanted to take on the task.

Why?

Christian Muessgens

Business correspondent in Hamburg.

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Quite simply: I see it as my duty.

My parents came to Wolfsburg from Italy in the 1960s, as guest workers, as they called it back then.

My father worked here on the assembly line, I did my apprenticeship at VW and have been a member of the works council for twenty years.

I never would have thought before that I would one day be at the top.

But at the latest when I became deputy to the then chairman Bernd Osterloh in early 2019, it was clear that things could go in this direction.

Of course, I had a lot of respect for the task and I still have it, because, as you say, we are in the midst of a major change process.

You didn't have a long grace period.

At the end of the year, a power struggle broke out with CEO Herbert Diess.

You and the state of Lower Saxony, which is involved in VW, almost chased him out of office.

Can you and Diess still look each other in the eye?

Naturally.

I meet Mr. Diess every Monday morning as one of my first appointments of the week, and then again and again in various committees and meetings.

We are both professional enough to look ahead and tackle the issues together now.

My expectation is clear: the Management Board as a whole must now consistently implement the strategy that we defined last December in the Supervisory Board.

If the ramp-up of e-mobility does not work as we would like, or if the new software platforms for our models do not progress accordingly, there will be consequences that also endanger jobs.

Our future depends on it.

Diess has repeatedly warned against rival Tesla.

The plant in Grünheide, only about 200 kilometers from Wolfsburg, will make its high level of productivity and software advantage even more apparent.

Will VW be left behind?

The comparison is flawed because Tesla is much smaller and less complex.

What Tesla achieves is highly relevant to us and of course we take it very seriously.

But we don't need to hide.

Our plant in Zwickau has been converted to e-mobility, and we are working flat out on it in Hanover and Emden.

Now it's Wolfsburg's turn.

As the works council, we have managed to ensure that the ID.3 will be built here from 2023, which means that we are bringing forward the electrification of the plant.

For the Trinity model, which will follow in 2026, VW is considering a new factory close to the factory site or production within existing factory boundaries.

The goal is to make a decision before Easter.

I can live with both scenarios.

The fact that Wolfsburg was not converted earlier also has something to do with its predecessor Osterloh.

It was more important to him to bundle the production of the combustion model Golf here.

Does that get to you now?

No not at all.

We deliberately chose the order of the factory conversions, and one thing must not be forgotten: VW earns the money for its conversion largely with the combustion engines, including those that roll off the assembly line in Wolfsburg.

But we don't have a crystal ball.

Will the decline in classic drives be faster than we are currently seeing?

There's a lot to be said for it, and that's why we've now pushed through the new allocation, which gives us a chance to breathe better in Wolfsburg with three different platforms.

First the construction kits for the current combustion and electric models, then from 2026 onwards the Scalable Systems Platform, or SSP for short.

Taking Trinity to the streets is a big step.

Group-wide, that first happens in Wolfsburg, and this is also where the SSP is developed.

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