Among other things Volkswagen Group points to becoming a global leader in electric mobility by 2025, while develops 10% to 15% more efficient conventional engines (specially diesel) by 2020. All in the frame of the so called Together Strategy.
Those are part of the plans for growth to carry out by Volkswagen from here to 2025, which were unveiled by Matthias Müller (CEO Volkswagen AG) at the annual general shareholders meeting held today in Hannover.
Needed change beyond investments and tech developments
Müller highlighted how the realignment of the Group was gaining a foothold, quoting numerous further initiatives: “Volkswagen is becoming faster, more focused, and more customer-driven.”
The guiderail for all this is “Together Strategy 2025”, the Volkswagen Group’s program for the future.
“We are transforming Volkswagen from an automaker into a globally leading mobility provider,” said Volkswagen AG CEO, and he added: “Volkswagen needs to transform, because our industry will see more fundamental changes in the coming decade than we have experienced over the past 100 years.”
A new era calls for new ways of thinking: “More agile and courageous. More entrepreneurial and pragmatic.” Müller underscored that this was just as important as technological change: “I am convinced that an open culture, strong values, and integrity in our actions are essential for the future of Volkswagen.”
Together Strategy 2025 has a clear goal: “What sounds great on paper must become part and parcel of everyday behavior.”
Notwithstanding the diesel crisis, Volkswagen is well prepared to face fundamental change in the automotive industry, and Müller stated on this point: “In the last fiscal year, we laid the foundations for the most extensive transformation in the history of Volkswagen. And we put up an operative performance that was much better than many people had thought possible”, Müller said: “For 2017, it’s now ‘full speed ahead’!”
Around €9Bn investment in e-mobility and first in fully AV, but conventional engines still needed
“The future is electric. We intend to be the No. 1 in e-mobility by 2025”, said
Volkswagen AG CEO, and explained that the 12-brand Group is sending clear signals for the expansion of e-mobility. The Group has invested some €3Bn in alternative drive technologies over the past five years and will be tripling this amount in the course of the next five years.
In fact, Volkswagen became the first automaker to give a concrete insight into a fully autonomous vehicle when it unveiled Sedric (Self-Driving-Car) at the Geneva Motor Show.
“This is how the Group will be rolling out more than 10 new electrified models by the end of 2018. By 2025, we will be adding over 30 more BEVs.” The newly-established Center of Excellence in Salzgitter will bundle Group-wide competence in battery cells and modules. “At the same time, we are conducting intensive negotiations to establish partnerships in the field of battery cells in Europe and China. You will soon be hearing more about this”, the CEO added.
Just last April Volkswagen AG unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2017 three electric world premieres: the Audi X17 BEV Coupé, the ŠKODA VISION E and the Volkswagen I.D. Crossover concept.
While Volkswagen is pushing forward e-mobility, Müller also underscored that “conventional engines will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.”
€10Bn investment in diesel engines
According to Volkswagen AG CEO, modern internal combustion engines will nevertheless be indispensable for the foreseeable future: “This applies also and especially to the Euro 6 diesel, despite the current heated debate.”
In total, the Volkswagen Group will be investing around €10Bn in these technologies by 2022. He said on this point: “The internal combustion engine primarily is part of the solution, not part of the problem.” And he added: “124 years after it was invented, the diesel engine still has plenty of potential. And we intend to exploit that potential. By 2020, we will have made our internal combustion engines between 10 and 15 percent more efficient, and therefore also cleaner. This will help protect the environment and preserve resources.”
Partnerships a key point for growth: the Indian Tata and JAC in China
Another central element of the program for the future is partnerships to develop new business opportunities or advance new technologies. According to Müller: “Part of becoming the “new” Volkswagen involves opening up as a company. In recent months, we have forged many promising partnerships.”
Müller referred to several examples such as the plans to enter the economy segment with Tata, the envisaged joint venture with JAC in China to develop attractively-priced electric cars, as well as to a wide range of cooperation projects in the field of mobility services.
“Building great cars is no longer enough” to secure the future. “Today’s customers expect more with regard to mobility. And these new customer requirements also mean that we need to change.”
Leaving aside the China premiere of “Sedric”, the first self-driving concept car, the German Automotive Group unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2017 a smart city partnership with Tongji University.
Besides, advanced voice recognition in the current fleet is to enhance user friendliness still further. To that end, a new joint venture with MobVoi, the Chinese company that specializes in artificial intelligence, has been set up.
“Sedric” highlights the major importance of fully-automated driving in the Group’s strategy. In fact it is the first car for autonomous driving with no steering wheel or pedals. “Sedric” gives a foretaste of the mobility of the future and will be developed further in China by a joint venture with MobVoi. Volkswagen Group China is also supporting a smart city project which explores a concept for setting up a self-driving mobility fleet in big cities based on Sedric.
Pilot projects featuring contributions such as software developments (apps) from Tongji University in Shanghai are planned for metropolitan cities in Eastern China and the Yangtze delta.
Volkswagen AG is building a service in the growing car-sharing business in China together with the Beijing car rental company Shouqi and there are plans to enter into a strategic partnership with the mobile transportation service provider Didi to offer joint mobility services such as a ride hailing service.
Image over the headline.- Matthias Müller (CEO Volkswagen AG). © Volkswagen AG.
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