Audi on Tuesday reached a deal with its labor union to reduce staff by 9,500 members, about 10 percent of its global workforce, by the end of 2025.
The automaker is looking to make cost savings while also improving efficiencies as it prepares for the launch of electric cars in the coming years, which tend to require fewer production line workers than their internal-combustion counterparts.
Rather than force terminations, Audi will offer voluntary retirement incentives and limit new hires in certain roles. The staff reduction will primarily be at Audi's Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm plants in Germany, which are being transformed for EV production. An equivalent percentage staff reduction will take place in management, the automaker said.
The staff reduction will enable Audi to realize 6 billion euros (approximately $6.6 billion) in savings that will be directed toward the development of electrification and digitization technologies. The increased focus in these two areas will create up to 2,000 new roles and provide new avenues for apprentices and student trainees regularly recruited by the automaker.
As part of the deal, Audi has also guaranteed the jobs of its remaining staff until at least 2029.
“In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient,” CEO Bram Schot said. “This will increase productivity and sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of our German plants.”
The Neckarsulm plant is currently responsible for the R8 supercar and starting in 2020 will also build the E-Tron GT super sedan which shares its J1 platform with the Porsche Taycan. The Ingolstadt plant will be used to build cars based on the PPE platform, a battery-electric platform for premium cars due to spawn its first model in 2021.