Volkswagen's much-hyped Project Trinity technological flagship championed by former Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess is reportedly among the projects under a review initiated by new CEO Oliver Blume, who replaced Diess in September.
Blume, together with VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer, told employees about plans to “review all projects and investments and determine whether they are viable” in a memo, a copy of which was seen last week by The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
Citing people familiar with the matter, the paper also reported that the Project Trinity will likely be delayed and the car's planned $2 billion plant to be constructed in Germany may be canceled.
It was in late 2020 that VW Group first hinted at plans for the so-called Project Trinity from its VW brand to be built using highly automated production methods, which are being developed with a view to improve efficiencies and reduce costs across the automaker's plants.
Volkswagen Plant, Wolfsburg, Germany (photo by Richard Bartz)
The car itself, which VW said would be launched in 2026, is expected to be a Tesla Model 3 rival based on a highly standardized platform known as the SSP (Scalable Systems Platform). The platform will standardize not only vehicle structures but also battery cells and software, and could eventually end up underpinning most of the vehicles across the VW Group brand portfolio.
Software, including self-driving technology, will also be a defining feature of the Project Trinity, and future vehicles from VW Group. However, VW Group's new Cariad software development team has struggled to deliver, the paper said.
Only in October, VW Group also said it planned to announce a new partner in self-driving technology when Argo AI, the self-driving technology startup owned by VW Group together with Ford, shut down. While Cariad is tasked with developing self-driving technology for private use, VW planned to tap Argo AI for technology for commercial use, specifically for a robotaxi service due for launch in Germany in 2025.
Despite the potential delay in the Project Trinity, VW Group is pushing ahead with multiple other EV programs. VW's ID.Buzz minivan arrives in the U.S. next year, and will be followed shortly by an ID-badged sedan to replace the Passat. VW Group has also launched the U.S.-based Scout Motors, which is working on a rugged electric SUV and related pickup truck that are on track for launch in 2026.