The German giant lays foundations for a greener future
Volkswagen Group used to fight for the No. 1 place on the world's largest automakers podium. Because Dieselgate slowed down VAG's growth, the company announced new plans to transform its major brand, VW, into a green yet agile behemoth.
Volkswagen says it will be investing about €22.8 billion throughout the world from 2018 to 2022 in developing modular platforms, modernizing its factories and preparing its cars for electro-mobility.
"The investment package which has now been adopted will give a decisive boost to the largest product and technology offensive in the history of the brand. It is our objective to position Volkswagen sustainably in the lead in the volume segments and to take up a leading position in e-mobility."
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen brand
The main focus will be on Germany, which will receive a total of €14 billion in investments. VW will transform its Zwickau plant into a pure e-mobility facility, with an investment volume of about €1 billion, concentrating the production of its future electric vehicles based on the new modular electric drive kit (MEB) here. The goal is to launch the Volkswagen I.D., the first vehicle in the new generation of electric automobiles, in 2020.
The MEB platform will allow Volkswagen to offer electric vehicles with operating ranges from 400 to 600 kilometers and fast charging capabilities at the price of a comparable diesel car, according to the company. Also, the MEB will be the key tool for meeting demanding fleet targets first in Europe and China and later in the USA, offering vehicles ranging from the compact A segment to 7-seaters in the B segment, with a focus on electric crossovers like the ID CROZZ.
The new electric Volkswagen vehicles will also feature innovations previously only available on cars in the premium segment. But VW eyes significant volumes right from the start: production will be launched at almost the same time in Europe, China and the USA. In 2020, the production volume of the Volkswagen I.D. EV will be about 100,000 units. At least 1 million Volkswagen electric cars are planned for 2025.
VW will also relocate production of the Volkswagen Golf and Passat from Zwickau to Wolfsburg and Emden, after a €2.9-billion investment in Wolfsburg in order to pool production of the next-generation Golf family at the plant. At Emden, the total investment for consolidating the production of the Passat family at the plant from the end of 2018 will be about €1.1 billion.
Vehicle production plants throughout the world such as those at Pamplona in Spain, Palmela in Portugal and Bratislava in Slovakia are preparing for the production of further MQB vehicles. Ground-breaking, market-oriented SUV projects are planned for plants in Mexico, the USA, South America and Russia.
Volkswagen will also invest more than €750 million in Brunswick, about €1.5 billion in Kassel and more than €800 million in Emden, for auto parts. It's part of its ongoing Transform 2025+ strategy to bring up to 50 new electric cars, based on three EV platforms, until 2025. It's the biggest electrification drive in automotive history.
Of course, Volkswagen is not the only one investing massively in modern production lines. The current worldwide market leader, Renault-Nissan, also has ambitious plans of its own, while Toyota, the current No. 2, announced it would continue to invest massively in the US while cutting costs at home.
The fight for the green, autonomous car of the near future rages on.