Standing next to the lovely GTE plug-in hybrid during the Beijing Motor Show, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn announced a renewed, $25-billion focus for the German automaker on electric mobility in China. EVs + China is not a new equation for VW (see here and here and here), but the time is now for the plan to come together, apparently. As Winterkorn said in a statement (available below), "We are launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China's automotive history."

"We are launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China's automotive history" – Martin Winterkorn

With the Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid already in showrooms, the next tip of the spear is made up of the all-electric e-up! and e-Golf, both of which are due later this year. In 2015, the Audi A3 e-tron and Golf GTE will arrive. In 2016, there will be two exclusive-to-China plug-in hybrid vehicles in showrooms: a A6 PHEV and a "new mid-size limousine from the Volkswagen brand." VW Group may even throw in the Bentley Hybrid Concept for good measure. The China-only models will be built in the country and VW is investing over $25 billion between now and 2018, creating an expected 20,000 jobs.
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VOLKSWAGEN GROUP STARTS ELECTRO-MOBILITY CAMPAIGN IN CHINA

CEO Prof. Dr. Winterkorn: "We are launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China's automotive history."
Campaign gets underway with electric up!1 and e-Golf2
Over €18 billion to be spent on new vehicles, technologies and plants up to 2018
Over 500,000 employees at more than 3,600 dealerships in 2018
Vehicle deliveries in China targeted to top 3.5 million for first time in 2014

Wolfsburg / Beijing, April 22, 2014: "The Volkswagen Group is once again assuming a pioneering role in China and launching the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China's automotive history," Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, announced at the Auto China motor show in Beijing. The initiative gets underway with the launch this year of the Volkswagen brand's electric up!1 and e-Golf2 models.

While the Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid3 is already in the showrooms in China, the Group will be launching two further innovative plug-in hybrid vehicles there next year with the Audi A3 e-tron4 and the Golf GTE5. Starting in 2016, this will be followed by two models developed specially for the Chinese market: These are the Audi A6 and a new mid-size limousine from the Volkswagen brand, both plug-in hybrids which are being developed together with the joint venture partners FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen and will be produced locally. Furthermore, the Bentley Hybrid Concept opens a window on the broad-ranging potential of hybrid technology.

Winterkorn went on to say. "All these vehicles are highly efficient and eco-friendly. And at the same time they offer lots of driving pleasure. That is exactly what people all over the world and here in China expect of the Volkswagen Group. Thanks to the modular strategy, which is also being implemented at our Chinese factories, we can electrify nearly every model in our range: From small cars to large sedans, from pure electric drives to plug-in hybrids."

As a result, the Volkswagen Group is making its Chinese vehicle fleet ever more efficient. Seventeen Group models already meet the updated legal requirements set by the Chinese authorities to qualify as 'especially energy-efficient vehicles'. "Here in China, we are now setting out on the road to a future of emission-free mobility," Winterkorn added.

Investments remain at record level

To that end, the two joint venture partners FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen are investing more than ever before in state-of-the-art vehicles and drives, green technologies and resource-efficient plants. €18.2 billion will be invested up to 2018. As Winterkorn commented: "Our team of over 2,700 engineers in China and our partners are working together on pioneering technologies, and we are banking on China's innovative power." The company will continue on its growth trajectory. Over the coming years, more than 20,000 new skilled jobs will be created in China alone.

50 percent expansion of dealer network by 2018

In addition, the Group's dealer network will see significant growth and increase by 50 percent from the present approx. 2,400 dealerships to over 3,600 partners. More than 500,000 people will then be employed by the Volkswagen Group's Chinese dealer organization. The success of the dealerships is based on an ever-growing range of attractive models. This year alone, the Group brands will be putting over 30 new models, successor models and product upgrades in Chinese showrooms.

China plays key role in Strategy 2018

Winterkorn also said that "China is the Volkswagen Group's largest single market and plays a key role in our Strategy 2018. For 2014, we have once again set our sights on double-digit growth in China and are aiming to deliver over 3.5 million vehicles to customers for the first time in a calendar year." According to Winterkorn, the Group is also making good overall progress across all markets: "This year, our Group is aiming to deliver over ten million vehicles to customers worldwide for the first time." That would mean the quantitative target of Strategy 2018 would have been achieved four years earlier than planned.

Digitalisation also redefining the car in China

China will be an integral part of the Group's 'Future Tracks' initiative. As Winterkorn explained: "Here in China, as elsewhere, people's expectations of mobility and the automobile are changing faster and faster." Moreover, increasing digitalization is confronting the automotive industry with challenges while at the same time presenting great opportunities as well. The Volkswagen Group is addressing this and other issues of the future with its 'Future Tracks' initiative: "We will intensify our customer orientation even further so that we can respond even faster and more flexibly to customers' wishes – particularly here in China."

The best experts and masterminds in the Volkswagen Group are joining forces in the 'Future Tracks' initiative to find answers to the long-term trends and challenges of the automotive world. That also includes innovative vehicle-related services which will increase in popularity going forward. Winterkorn said: "That will put us in a position to take precisely the right car with the right technology to customers and the market at precisely the right time. For me, 'Future Tracks' contains many essential elements for continuing and evolving our Strategy 2018."

electric-up! – Energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 11.7 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+
e-Golf – Energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.7 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+
Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid – Fuel consumption in l/100km: 3.1 (combined); energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 16.2 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 71 (combined); efficiency class: A+
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron – Fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.5 (combined); energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 14.2 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 35 (combined); efficiency class: A+
Golf GTE – The vehicle has not yet gone on sale. It does not yet have type approval and therefore Directive 1999/94/EC does not apply. Provisional values: Fuel consumption in l/100 km: 1.5 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 35 (combined).


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 7 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Hours Ago
      The numbers appears astonishing. Maybe build a small car like the leaf or the i3 but not invest as much as 25 billions as they say. In china it make more sense to get a bev as america because pollution is acute and gas is costly. They probably have insight from the goverment that they want to limit the purchase of gasoline cars and subsidize battery. They should try hydrogen instead for more sales.
      sebringc5
      • 3 Hours Ago
      VW has got to be the biggest offender of announcing a future product with nothing to show! Reminds me of people trying to "short" the stock market by the "pump and dump" method. I am not the only one to have noticed this either. Don't get me wrong if ANY manufacture of I.C.E. vehicles can do it, VW can. I have been watching them release timely manned press release upon press release with NO viable product to show for the past 2+ years. VW STOP gauging interest and build a competitive product! All the best, Aaron Lephart smartcar451.com
        DaveMart
        • 3 Hours Ago
        @sebringc5
        You mean like the electric Up and the Electric Golf now in production?
      Grendal
      • 3 Hours Ago
      Batteries for all these EVs?
      Smoking_dude
      • 3 Hours Ago
      Why only china? why are thex always excluding the german and us market. what are they afraid of? that one is going to buy their products? VW refuses to bring the GTE to the USA, which is a huge mistake. I would bet they could sell lots of them as it is fast, refinded, well made and cheap to run. but then no one would take a diesel anymore...
        DaveMart
        • 3 Hours Ago
        @Smoking_dude
        Their NA facilities are just coming on line now, after their having spent some time prioritising China. From memory the VW group is investing something like $14 billion in NA in the next few years in a very big push. The US is to get the Audi E-tron plug in first instead of the GTE, with the E-Golf representing the VWs. Now they have their ducks in a line the roll-out of additional models will be fast though, with the Passat PHEV an early entry to offer a saloon option.
      DaveMart
      • 3 Hours Ago
      Its $25 billion in China by 2018, including for electric vehicles, not $25 billion ON electric vehicles. Sheesh!