July 12, 2017 / 2:31 PM / in 16 days

Audi labour boss criticises management for lack of German strategy

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The new Audi A8 is seen during a presentation at the Audi Summit in Barcelona, Spain July 11, 2017.Albert Gea

BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi's labour boss has criticised top management for lacking a roadmap for production in Germany as workers at the luxury carmaker's core plants fear they could be left behind in the race for orders and projects.

Volkswagen's main profit engine last year assigned production of its first mass-produced electric sport-utility vehicle (SUV) to a plant in Brussels and in April picked lower-cost sites in Slovakia and Hungary to build two more SUVs.

With Audi and parent VW both pushing a post-Dieselgate shift to electric cars, Audi's labour bosses have repeatedly called on executives to allot production of a battery-powered model to the main factory in Ingolstadt employing 43,000 people and home to R&D facilities.

"A production strategy is currently not discernible," works council chairman Peter Mosch told a gathering of 8,000 workers in Ingolstadt on Wednesday.

"Now is the time when purposeful decisions for the future of Audi have to be taken but, so far, they have been failing to materialise," said Mosch.

The criticism by Audi's powerful unions, occupying half the seats on the carmaker's supervisory board which decides on plant closures and executive posts, shows the company has more to do as it grapples with the fallout of its emissions test-cheating scandal and a costly business transformation.

Audi plans to add electrified models - purely-battery powered cars and hybrid vehicles - to all of its model lines, benefiting production at both Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, procurement chief Bernd Martens told the staff gathering, according to emailed comments.

Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Tom Sims and David Evans

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