Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Product Lines at AUDI AG
Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Management and Board of Management Member for Product Lines at AUDI AG

AUDI AG has been a partner of the Ludwig Erhard Summit, a get-together of decision-makers from the worlds of business, politics, science and the media, for many years. Providing electric and plug-in hybrid cars, Audi runs the shuttle service for guests as the event’s mobility partner. In addition, CEO Markus Duesmann is a keynote speaker at the Innovation & Science Day, and Hildegard Wortmann, Board Member for Sales and Marketing, takes part at a panel discussion about sustainability and transformation. Please see the following for an executive summary of key messages:

Markus Duesmann on the war in Ukraine...

  • “Peace in Europe is the cornerstone of our prosperity, and we need to get back to it as quickly as possible. This is also the only way to remain an economic powerhouse on par with the U.S. and China.”
  • “It is admirable how Ukrainian suppliers are continuing to work under these high-risk conditions and are able to guarantee about half of the production output. We are committed to working with them in the long term, even though production required a shift to sites in other countries for the short term.”

On the impact of the war...

  • “The subsidized lowering of fuel prices does not support the actual goal of reducing fossil fuels. We need to take this terrible war as a catalyst to significantly accelerate the transition to renewable energies which is needed anyway.”
  • “The shortage of raw materials proves it is high time to chart a new course and make the concept of a circular economy the basis of our considerations. This will also allow us to become more independent.”
  • “Globalization has brought growth and prosperity to the world. We do not intend to, and will not, turn the clock back. We remain strong advocates for free trade and the global collaboration.”

On electromobility and the energy revolution...

  • “Green energy will continue to be a scarce commodity for the foreseeable future, so we need to make best use of what we have. And the most efficient use in transportation is the electric drive.”
  • “As we see it, the German automotive industry must concentrate all efforts on battery-electric drives for individual mobility – precisely because such high levels of investment are required to build an adequate charging infrastructure. I am firmly committed to making this the clear technology of choice. That’s why I’m also in favor of phasing out the purchase incentive for plug-in hybrids at the end of this year.”
  • “If we utilize green hydrogen as an energy carrier for our vehicles, that quantity will not be available for defossilization in other areas, such as the steel industry.”
  • “Local energies increase our independence of energy imports. This is why we need faster approval procedures to facilitate the expansion of renewable energies as well as an accelerated expansion of wind energy, in addition to photovoltaics, especially in Bavaria.”

Hildegard Wortmann on sustainable management...

  • “Sustainability is the prerequisite for personal and entrepreneurial freedom. Our company assumes responsibility and shows where we stand. Vorsprung 2030 is our corporate strategy that clearly describes our future roadmap.”
  • “Companies that fail to be guided by ESG criteria today will no longer be relevant tomorrow. That’s why we have integrated ESG criteria into all corporate and product decisions and take a holistic view of sustainability.”
  • “Maintaining individual mobility means self-determination and independence – and is in no way a contradiction. Now it’s about making individual mobility sustainable. In other words, sustainability is the new premium.”

On e-mobility...

  • “To really achieve a sustainable turnaround in mobility, we will need to expand the charging infrastructure and renewable energies as quickly as possible. The entire electromobility system must be an easy sell – from the vehicle to the ecosystem.”
  • “Our early decision in favor of sustainable, electric mobility is backed up by high customer demand. Building on this momentum, we are systematically expanding our electric portfolio.”

On the benefits of transformation...

  • “We need to regard the challenges of the future as opportunities and not threats. Shaping the transformation and making the world a better place requires a long-term approach and collaboration.”
  • “For us, future is an attitude. Despite the crisis, we are keeping a close eye on our strategic paths and future viability and are pursuing profitable growth with a clear focus on electromobility.”
  • “We must take responsibility for shaping the future. What that means is preserving our natural resources, stopping climate change, creating modern jobs and leveraging technologies that make our society more inclusive and resilient. This type of Vorsprung is more urgently needed than ever.”

The Ludwig Erhard Summit is an annual top-level get-together of opinion leaders and decision-makers from the worlds of business and politics organized by the Weimer Media Group. The event is hosted by the Governor of Bavaria, Markus Söder, and held in Tegernsee, southern Bavaria. This year’s speaker roster included Joachim Gauck, Karl Lauterbach, Lars Klingbeil and Friedrich Merz. In addition to contributions by Markus Duesmann and Hildegard Wortmann, Audi, a long-standing mobility partner of the summit, presented its latest e-cars, such as the recently unveiled Audi A6 Avant e-tron concept.