VW in 15-bln-euro bet on electric cars
“China is our second home,” recently-installed chief executive Herbert Diess said at a Beijing press conference, with its market set to be “the biggest” worldwide for electric cars.
He added that the cash - to come from both Volkswagen and local joint-venture partners - would “make mobility cleaner, safer and more intelligent to really improve people’s lives.” By 2021, the world’s largest carmaker aims to produce battery-powered cars in “at least six factories in China”, Diess said.
The VW chief also announced a new joint venture with Chinese firm Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) to launch a new car brand, SOL, which will offer an electric SUV with a range of “more than 300 kilometers” on a single charge. Accounting for some 28.9 million car sales last year, the Chinese car market could soon match those of the EU and U.S. combined. VW, which said it would set up a unit devoted entirely to China in a recently-announced restructuring, plans to release some 40 new models there in the coming eight years.
Diess’ trip to the Beijing Auto Show is his first foreign visit since replacing former CEO Matthias Mueller, the crisis firefighter brought in after the “dieselgate” scandal broke in 2015.