Audi and Capgemini unveil JV to drive auto sector digital transformation

Motor manufacturer Audi has launched a joint venture (JV) company alongside consulting group Capgemini with the aim of driving digital transformation in the automotive industry.

In a move that retailers embarking on their own digital transformation projects may find of interest, the new XL2 JV will focus on the use of tech titan SAP’s S/4HANA and cloud services in the auto sector.

Developing end-to-end digital manufacturing is the aim of the new collaboration, and the JV is led by Géraldine Aubert, previously vice president of packaged based services at Capgemini, and Felix Spitznagel, ex-director of the SAP Acceleration Centre at Audi.

From its headquarters in Heilbronn, Germany, XL2 will provide digital technology and consulting services with an SAP focus, primarily for Audi and the entire Volkswagen Group. The new company's goal is to expand its project business gradually and significantly grow its workforce over the next five years.

The new company is aiming to recruit SAP consultants and software developers, as well as analytics and data engineers – ranging from graduates to established experts in the field.

The HQ is in close proximity to Audi’s production site in Neckarsulm, which XL2 said provides an “ideal testing and application environment for IT solutions in the field of digital production”.

Capgemini and Audi have a long-standing partnership in developing solutions for digital transformation and co-innovation, but this JV marks a step change in the structure of that relationship.

Frank Loydl, CIO at Audi, said: "XL2’s flexible and scalable way of working and its focus on important key technologies is part of our vision and our needs in further advancing digital transformation.”

Markus Winkler, global head of the automotive sector at Capgemini, added: "XL2 is an exciting new brand that stands out from the market combining an agile start-up culture and the experience and capabilities of two industry leaders.”

Like other sectors, the automotive industry has been blown off course by the coronavirus pandemic.

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis, Audi has intensified its focus on digital platforms for its customers as physical showrooms have been temporarily closed and will require the introduction of various safety measures as they reopen.

Yesterday (27 May), it announced its dealerships are integrating eCommerce solutions for purchasing new and used cars in several markets across Europe. France is the pilot market for a new online reservation tool, while online sales of new cars from dealer stock have been launched in Germany.

It also said virtual consulting and service offers are continuing to gain importance for the business, as they are for the retail sector as a whole.