FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said he was confident that the automaker could keep up with Tesla as the U.S. electric-car maker prepares to open its first European factory near Berlin.
VW will need to make further cost cuts, including headcount reductions at its home factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, Diess told analysts on Thursday in a third-quarter earnings call.
"For sure we need some headcount reduction, to be as competitive," Diess said.
Earlier this month Diess warned that VW could lose 30,000 jobs if it transitioned too slowly to full-electric vehicles.
Tesla plans to produce up to 500,000 cars a year at its new plant in Gruenheide with 12,000 employees. VW employs 25,000 people to build 700,000 cars at its home factory in Wolfsburg.
Diess said on Thursday that the Tesla site was setting a new benchmark in terms of productivity, speed and lean management.
Diess's push to improve efficiency at the Wolfsburg plant has upset labor representatives. On Wednesday, he cancelled a planned trip to meet investors in the U.S. next week and will take part in a meeting with employees on Nov. 4 instead.