Published on June 1st, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
Audi’s Next Project Will Put Engineering First
The excitement around the Audi brand has taken a major hit in the last few years. They experienced surge of interest back in the mid-to-late 2000s. Suddenly the Transporter ditched his 7 Series and S-Class for an A8 and Iron Man drove an R8. Things have sort of mellowed down since then. They still have great products with R, S, SQ and RS badges, but by and large there’s not one car that really encapsulates what the brand is all about. Mercedes-Benz can point to the S-Class and BMW can point to the 3 Series or M5. What exactly does the brand known to “progress with technology” have to represent them?
You might think it’s the e-tron, but Audi’s new CEO thinks they need something a little more exciting, and who can blame him? The e-tron feels like an obligatory response to Tesla and hasn’t quite captured the public’s attention and interest. Instead, just two months after taking the job, Markus Duesmann has set up a new unit called “Artemis” to deal with this problem.
“Artemis” is a high-tech project is aimed at producing a cutting edge vehicle with engineers, not accountants, marketing people or managers, at the helm. What’s even more interesting is that the project will have access to all of VW Group’s resources and technologies.
The “Artemis” project will not only produce an electric car by 2024, but an entire new business model for the company to rely on. As the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, car sales are not a guarantee of stable income for any automotive brand. It’s hoped that the engineering team in charge of “Artemis” will find some way to make money off customers long after their initial purchase. If successful, the project may be used as a template for other VW Group brands.
Audi are putting this project in the hands of Alex Hitzinger who has the following accomplishments under his belt:
- Development Engineer at Toyota Motorsport
- Youngest Chief Development Engineer in Formula 1 with Ford/Cosworth
- Helped build the Porsche Team that won the 24 Hrs of Le Mans between ’15-’17
- Worked at Apple to develop autonomous vehicles
- Developed autonomous driving tech for VW ID.BUZZ and VW Commercial Vehicles