At the Auto China 2014 in Beijing, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn announced a $25 billion expansion to grow China’s EV mobility by 2018. “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,” said Winterkorn. The initiative begins later this year with the launch of the VW’s electric up!1 and e-Golf2 models.
FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen will be investing in state-of-the-art vehicles and drives, green technologies and resource-efficient plants. “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,” adds Winterkorn. That includes more than 20,000 new skilled jobs created in China alone.
With this initiative comes a 50-percent expansion of the Volkswagen Group’s dealer organization, from 2,400 to over 3,600 dealerships involving more than 500,000 employees. Volkswagen Group plans on introducing over 30 new models—both brand-new and upgrades—so their Chinese dealer network appears to be primed for success.
Winterkorn continues, “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.”
The Volkswagen Group currently sells the Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid in Chinese showrooms, with the aforementioned e-up! and e-Golf due due later this year. For 2015, the Audi A3 e-tron and Golf GTE will arrive. In 2016, VW will have two exclusive-to-China plug-in hybrid vehicles: a, Audi A6 PHEV and a “new mid-size limousine from the Volkswagen brand.”
Could the Bentley Hybrid Concept be far behind? Stay tuned to Motrolix for updates on Volkswagen Group’s Chinese EV initiatives.