Sometimes, home games are played more than 8,000 kilometers from the team’s own stadium
“China is our second home. As we move into the future, Volkswagen will become even more Chinese,” CEO Matthias Müller said at the Group Media Night in Shanghai on the evening before the motor show officially opened its doors.
The relationship between VW and China extends back to 1983, when the first Santana rolled off the assembly line in the Asian country – and became a symbol of a long success story. “We have gained more than 30 years of experience in this market, and we will also help shape the automotive future of China,” Müller said.
As part of this effort, the Volkswagen Group is employing new technologies, selling highly efficient vehicles and offering new services to Chinese customers. Together with its partners, the company will invest 30 billion renminbi (€4 billion) in China in this year alone. The Group’s brands plan to introduce more than 30 new and successor models to the Chinese market in 2017. “Despite all of the challenges, China will remain a strong pillar for our company,” Müller said. “Volkswagen is China – China is Volkswagen.”
“China is our second home. As we move into the future, Volkswagen will become even more Chinese.”
The country’s importance to the Group is reflected in the expansion of VW’s research, development, production and procurement activities in the country. The Chinese organization with the joint-venture partners SAIC and FAW is being enhanced as well. “Decisions involving China must be made in China,” Müller noted.
Becoming more Chinese: For Volkswagen, this process will also involve facilitating the company’s own transformation. With the future program “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025,” the Group has initiated an evolutionary process that will turn one of the world’s best automakers into a global leader in sustainable mobility. “China will play a key role in this transformation process,” Müller said. The company is already preparing to deliver about 400,000 plug-in hybrid and totally electric vehicles to customers in China in 2020. By 2025, the total is to rise to around 1.5 million new-energy vehicles. No matter whether the effort involves electromobility, digitalization or new urban mobility solutions – China will always be the leading market, he added. Volkswagen intends to take full advantage of this momentum, Müller said.
“Once we have regulatory approval, we can start making the first vehicle for the price-sensitive mass market.”
Jochem Heizmann, the Board of Management member who oversees China, stressed that the Group would continue to rely on partnerships during this transformation. As part of the company’s push to become the leader in electromobility, Volkswagen is planning to create a joint venture with the Chinese automaker JAC, Heizmann said. “Our Supervisory Board has already approved the plan,” he added. Once we have regulatory approval, we can start making the first vehicle for the price-sensitive mass market.”
In addition to electromobility, Volkswagen intends to become a leader in smart, customer-focused mobility solutions.
Heizmann said Volkswagen had set up partnerships or was planning to create them with the following companies and organizations:
- Together with Shouqi, a leading provider of mobility services, Volkswagen has launched a partnership for China’s booming car-sharing business.
- The Group is working to create a strategic partnership with DiDi that will be designed to develop leading ride-hailing opportunities.
- In the joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC VOLKSWAGEN, the company is working on solutions for the rapidly growing used-car market.
- Just a few days ago, a new joint venture with the Chinese technology company MobVoi was completed to explore the areas of artificial intelligence and language recognition.
- A new partnership with Tongji University in Shanghai is working on intelligent urban mobility concepts.
To create a real-life impression about mobility of the future, Heizmann asked Sedric to join him on stage – the first self-driving car of the Volkswagen Group. Sedric’s unique quality: It handles all driving functions by itself, is smart and is a snap to operate. Sedric needs no steering wheel, pedals or cockpit. You simply press the OneButton – and the electric car sets off. Sedric’s interior resembles a comfortable lounge where up to four passengers can work, talk on the phone, converse with one another or simply relax during the trip. “A simple press of a button will guarantee mobility for everyone in the future. To any place and at any time,” Heizmann said.
Over 500 representatives from Chinese and international media took up the Volkswagen Group’s invitation to attend the Group Night on the eve of the Shanghai Motorshow 2017.
“Auto Shanghai” is one of the world’s leading motor shows and will take place until April 28.