Volkswagen readies $12bn electric vehicle offensive in China

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VW aims to sell 400,000 new-energy vehicles per year in China by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025 - half its global target for electric vehicles in that year.

Jochem Heizmann, CEO of VW Group's operations in China, also told Reuters that the company plans to invest $11.8 billion (€10 billion) in order to comply with ever-stricter Chinese EV regulations.

The European automaker's venture with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (安徽江淮汽車) is to start production of electric vehicles (EVs) in the first half of next year, while sales are to start in the second half.

The Volkswagen group believes that its group companies and joint venture partners in China will generate enough NEV sales to meet quotas by 2019.

Over a third of VW's foreign sales currently come form China, and now the firm plans to further cement this position by rapidly transforming its product range.

In May, Volkswagen received a green light from the Chinese government to set up a joint venture with the state-owned Chinese automaker to make electric cars.

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The country has been keen on pushing a zero-emission vehicles initiative and is in the process of banning all petrol and diesel based vehicles by the year 2040, and this is why automakers have been clamoring to China.

Volkswagen forged its venture with state-owned JAC Motors this May with the express objective of manufacturing electric cars and has previously stated it plans to sell 1 million electric vehicles by 2025.

By 2020, VW aims to sell predominantly electric or hybrid vehicles in China, through partnerships with local firms as well as ride-hailing pioneer Didi.

VW will introduce 15 models based on its MQB platform, converting internal combustion engine cars into plug-in hybrid or pure-electric versions, said Heizmann. In this regard, a number of companies signed agreements concerning the production of electric cars in China.

"The new adjusted quota policy is really the right thing", Heizmann said. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance forecasts that adoption of emission-free vehicles will happen more quickly than previously estimated because the cost of building cars is falling fast.

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