While the Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid 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-tron and the Golf GTE.
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.
“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,” VW CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn said.
As a result, the Volkswagen Group is making its Chinese vehicle fleet ever more efficient. 17 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.
Digitalization 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.”