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  5. Annual General Meeting: Volkswagen Group announces multi-billion investments in eco-friendly drives

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Annual General Meeting: Volkswagen Group announces multi-billion investments in eco-friendly drives

  • Volkswagen Group seeking global leadership in e-mobility by 2025
  • Conventional engines to become further 10 to 15 percent more efficient and cleaner by 2020
  • Group CEO Müller: “Diesel will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.”
  • “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” future program already set important milestones for realignment of Group

The Volkswagen Group is pressing ahead with the transformation of mobility. “The future is electric. We intend to be the No. 1 in e-mobility by 2025”, Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, announced at the Group’s Annual General Meeting in Hanover. Throughout the Group, intensive efforts are underway to help achieve the breakthrough of this technology. At the same time, the Volkswagen Group is continuing to develop diesel and petrol engines, making them even more efficient and eco-friendly. Müller made it plain at the Annual General Meeting that “conventional engines will remain indispensable for the foreseeable future.” The CEO also updated the 3,000 shareholders attending the Annual General Meeting at the Exhibition Grounds in Hanover on the status of efforts to deal with the diesel crisis and showed how the Volkswagen Group was successfully realigning for the future of mobility with “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025”. 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.

“In order to provide affordable, sustainable mobility on a large scale we will continue to deploy the complete spectrum of drive types: from conventional to fully electric”, Müller said, outlining the Group’s drivetrain strategy. He explained that the 12-brand Group is sending clear signals for the expansion of e-mobility. The Group has invested some three billion euros in alternative drive technologies over the past five years and will be tripling this amount in the course of the next five years.

“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.

According to Müller, 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 10 billion euros in these technologies by 2022, Müller: “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 conserve resources.”

Müller highlighted how the realignment of the Group was gaining a foothold, citing 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. In Müller’s words: “We are transforming Volkswagen from an automaker into a globally leading mobility provider.” 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.” He emphasized 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.”

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, and numerous 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.”

Notwithstanding the diesel crisis, Volkswagen is well prepared to face fundamental change in the automotive industry. “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’!”

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