“It’s great to be back in China!” With these words Herbert Diess addressed the guests of the Group Media Event in Beijing just one month after he presented the all-new Volkswagen Touareg* as a world premiere in the Chinese capitol. “I feel honored that my first foreign trip as new CEO of the Volkswagen Group is to our biggest and most important market worldwide. China is our second home. And, personally, I am fully committed to our Chinese customers, our employees and good friends at our Joint Venture partners here!”
Looking out to the Auto China 2018 that will open its doors this week, Herbert Diess pictured the status quo of the Group. “Our mission is to make the Volkswagen Group one of the leading companies in our industry in terms of profitability, innovative power and sustainability.” Diess made clear, that the Group is well on track with its 12 strong brands and a global team of 640.000 colleagues.
China is a strong motor of growth
Volkswagen had a very positive start into 2018, with Group deliveries of over 2.6 million vehicles – a plus of 7.4 percent. There is positive momentum in all regions. China – once again – was a strong motor of growth. With 80 new models from the brands and the global SUV initiative, the group sees good opportunities for profitable growth in 2018. “But we need to speed up! Because change is getting faster, more dynamic and more ambitious – especially here in China”, Herbert Diess said. “The Chinese market is key for the international auto industry. And it is key to our success.”
By 2022, the Volkswagen Group will be investing over 34 billion euros worldwide in e-mobility, autonomous driving, digital networking and new mobility services. Plus another 15 billion euros that Volkswagen and its Chinese joint ventures will be spending on these future initiatives – especially electrification, as Jochem Heizmann explained, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG with responsibility for China and President and CEO of Volkswagen Group China.
“Welcome to the capital city of a country which is on the move. A country with a high need of mobility”, Jochem Heizmann welcomed Herbert Diess. Almost 24 million new passenger cars were delivered to Chinese customers last year. This year is expected to bring a further growth in the total passenger car market of 4 to 5 percent. “China’s car market is still growing fast. And so are we. Volkswagen Group China is by far the number one choice among Chinese customers”, Jochem Heizmann said.
A new record high in China
From January to March, over 1 million customers chose a car from Volkswagen Group China and its two Joint ventures, SAIC VOLKSWAGEN and FAW-Volkswagen. That is an increase of more than 13 percent. A record high, supported by Volkswagen’s major sedan models and its SUV offensive.
Compared to other regions in the world Chinese car buyers – on average – are much younger, more digital-driven and more active in social media. Therefore Jochem Heizmann has a clear vision for future mobility: “The car will be a smart, self-driving device embedded in a digitalized eco-system.” Volkswagen is already working hard to make this happen, developing an innovative Human Machine Interface together with the leading Chinese AI-company Mobvoi for example or expanding into a ride-hailing and car-sharing partnership with Chinese partner Shouqi. In the first phase of the cooperation with DiDi, Volkswagen Group China now wants to examine potential partnerships in mobility, smart city or robo taxi projects.
Audi gave the outlook for a new era and the next steps of level 3 – Conditional automated driving with the presentation of the Audi A8* on stage.
Besides that Jochem Heizmann was able to present the first results of Volkswagen’s new, third Chinese joint venture with JAC: the SOL E20X*.The SUV is the first joint model with JAC under the new SOL brand: a pure electric car for the booming volume market – with an NEDC range of more than 300 km and featuring latest AI technology.
One key element of China’s future mobility clearly is e-mobility. “This year, for the first time ever, over one million New Energy Vehicles could be sold in China. China stays the world’s largest market for e-mobility”, CEO Herbert Diess explained. With Roadmap E, Volkswagen Group has started a comprehensive initiative for electrification:
In China alone, Volkswagen Group will be bringing 15 new, locally produced plug-in hybrid and pure battery-powered cars to its customers by 2020. By 2025, the brands will be offering almost 40 locally produced Chinese NEV models. Over the coming years, the Group will be investing over 10 billion euros in the industrialization of e-mobility in China: in products, factories, training, charging infrastructure and distribution.
Audi e-tron, Porsche Mission E and VW I.D. Vizzion on stage*
“Starting with the Audi e-tron* this year, the next generation of electric vehicles from our Group brands will fascinate people, with new exterior and interior design. With outstanding user experience and connectivity. With safety and quality. With efficiency, emotion and a lot of driving pleasure”, Herbert Diess promised the audience while Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo* and VW I.D. Vizzion* entered the stage.
The massive expansion of the portfolio will bring far-reaching changes for production sites, too. In China alone, the Group will be starting local production of battery-electric cars in at least six factories by 2021. As a Group, Volkswagen has tendered the biggest procurement volume for battery cells worldwide. Cells for Volkswagen’s electric cars in China will come from China. “We are working together on the best solutions for our customers”, Herbert Diess said.
“But resting on our laurels is not an option. We know our responsibility. Together with our partners, we will keep on working to re-define mobility. For the people and with them. That is our and my promise to you!”
* Volkswagen Touareg: fuel consumption, l / 100 km: urban 8.1 / out of town 6.2 / combined 6.9; CO2 emissions combined, g / km: 182; Efficiency class: C
* Audi A8 L: combined fuel consumption: 8.0-5.6 l / 100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 182-146 g / km; Efficiency class: B-A;
* Volkswagen SOL E20X - the study is not for sale and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94 EC.
* Volkswagen I.D. VIZZION - the study is not for sale and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94 EC.
* Audi e-tron prototype - is not offered for sale and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94 EC.
* Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo - the concept study is not offered for sale and is therefore not subject to Directive 1999/94 EC.