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March 26, 2019

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VW aims to be world leader in NEV sector

Volkswagen aims to be the No. 1 brand in the booming new energy vehicle market, planning five new electric models and localized production in China by 2020, the company said yesterday.

China is the world’s largest NEV market, with around 1.26 million cars sold in 2018, compared with just over 360,000 in the United States. The sector shows vigorous growth and huge potential, analysts say, as China leads the global NEV push.

Volkswagen’s new fully-electric offerings will include versions of its popular models such as the Lavida, Golf and Bora, as well as a racing car.

“Our vision is clear ... that we want to be the No. 1 brand in NEVs,” Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars China, said at a conference in Zhuhai city in Guangdong Province.

The new models represent “a new phase” of Volkswagen’s NEV strategy in China, meeting consumers’ diversified demands covering SUVs, sedans and NEVs, said Volkswagen.

US$2.5b Shanghai plant

By 2020, Volkswagen will have about 10 NEV models in China, with a planned production of 300,000 and an investment of 17 billion yuan (US$2.54 billion) in a new plant in Shanghai.

China has intensified efforts to promote NEVs to ease pressure on the environment, offering tax exemptions and discounts on car purchases.

The government has also encouraged carmakers to build more NEV factories and improve technology.

But Volkswagen has to face strong rivals like Tesla and BMW, which have invested heavily in China.

Tesla, the California-based electric vehicle maker, has announced a new plant in Shanghai, with an investment of over 50 billion yuan.

It’s the largest foreign-funded manufacturing project in Shanghai’s history, and Tesla’s first plant outside the United States.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said recently that the new Model Y SUV will be produced in the new Shanghai plant.

BMW has invested heavily on charging facilities nationwide in China, a key step to boost NEV sales.


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