VW Reveals Intentions to Dominate Electric Car Market
German auto-maker Volkswagen may have been badly affected by revelations of cheating emissions tests in the past year, but it is seeking to revive its brand’s reputation by making a major investment in the development of electric vehicles (EVs) over the next decade, according to BBC News.
VW's chief executive, Matthias Mueller, admitted that the amount of money that the group would need to spend in order to achieve its eco-friendly goals would be significant, but that such an investment will be necessary if it is to escape the negative associations with the emissions scandal.
By 2025 the firm plans to have shifted its manufacturing and marketing operations so significantly that EVs account for up to a quarter of its sales, meaning that its reliance on selling vehicles powered by fossil fuels will be much lower.
This is not only sensible from a reputational standpoint but comes shortly after it was announced that the German government was looking into the concept of completely outlawing new cars with combustion engines being sold domestically. This would make EVs the only way to go for VW and many of its rivals.
Mueller said that he was eager to bring about a major revision of VW’s central business strategies in order to bring it in line with the way that the entire automotive market is moving at the moment. And with sales of EVs increasing in the UK, Europe and the rest of the developed world, it is certainly a trend that any manufacturer would be foolish to ignore.
In the coming decade there will be a total of 30 fully electric cars launched by VW, which is a figure that does not even factor in the raft of hybrid vehicles which are also on the cards.
While Mueller would not provide specific details about the kinds of EVs that his company will be launching, he did say that it will set its sights on the parts of the market which are growing quickly already and have positive prospects for the future. So with the success of SUVs at the moment, it seems likely that at least one electric-powered model in this category will roll out of VW’s factories between now and 2025.
It is also safe to assume that the EV takeover will be apparent not just from the changes to VW-badged cars, but also the vehicles which it produces under the other brands that fall within its group. These include the likes of Seat and Skoda, which bodes well for buyers who are hoping to see more affordable electric cars hitting the market rather than having to pay inflated prices as a result of VW’s premium image.
In terms of the real costs of this transformative effort being made by Mueller and his associates, an exact figure remains elusive, but he confirmed that it would represent a long-term investment of tens of billions of pounds. And fuelling this push for EV supremacy will also involve some cost-cutting across the group, focusing on its sales and admin departments.
Although VW has avoided an entirely disastrous performance in terms of sales since the emissions scandal first broke, it is also having to deal with the fact that many of its major rivals are enjoying much higher levels of sales growth, largely at its expense.
Last month Renault saw a 28.7 per cent year-on-year increase in sales, while Peugeot and Citroen owner PSA sold 18.7 per cent more vehicles during the same period. By comparison, the 4.1 per cent boost that VW got in May looks meagre to say the least.
Its share of the market has been put under pressure, and there is no doubt that consumers in the UK and around the world will need to see VW putting serious effort into remedying its reputation in the coming years, with a major EV investment being a good start.