Volkswagen has recently revealed its plans to create 30 all-electric models in an effort to rebrand itself as a leader in “green” transport and transportation technology.
This development has come almost one year after the German giant was forced to admit to equipping its diesel vehicles with software that enabled them to cheat on American emissions tests. The company was caught in the act by a team of researchers commissioned by the US Environmental Protection Agency and came clean on September 22 of last year. A handful of Volkswagen higher-ups stepped down as a result of the revelation, including CEO at the time Martin Winkerton, who is currently under investigation by German authorities and financial watchdog agencies. 11 million cars total were affected by the illegal software.
According to current CEO Matthias Mueller, major investments would be necessary to make it possible for the disgraced company to make a comeback from the “dieselgate” scandal. The chief executive hopes that by 2025, all-electric cars will account for about a quarter of the German carmaker’s annual sales.
That leaves a considerable amount of ground for Volkswagen to cover, as the latest industry figures show that sales growth of Volkswagen branded cars continue to fall behind European rivals. When discussing Volkswagen’s plan, Mueller noted that the “key building blocks in the new group strategy” would be VW’s aim to “transform its core automotive business or, to put it another way, make a fundamental realignment in readiness for the new age of mobility.”
Mueller continued on to state that VW plans to focus on “the most attractive and fastest-growing market segments,” noting that “Special emphasis will be placed on e-mobility.”
“The group is planning on a broad-based initiative in this area: it intends to launch more than 30 purely battery-powered electric vehicles over the next 10 years.”
According to Mueller, the investments necessary to making these dreams a reality would span into the double-digit billions in euros. The company revisions would be funded by savings and cost-cuts across the board in terms of the brands and businesses affiliated with VW.
“This will require us- following the serious setback as a result of the diesel issue- to learn from mistakes made, rectify shortcomings and establish a corporate culture that is open, value-driven and rooted in integrity.”
That will certainly be a big leap from a company whose “dieselgate” scandal is perhaps the most infamous and wide-reaching example of dishonesty on the part of an auto maker in recent history.
VW’s component businesses spread across 26 plants and will have to be streamlined in terms of cutting sales and administration costs. Cost cutting will be a must for a company that still suffers from a decrease in sales as a result of the diesel scandal according to car sales data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.
That said, sales of Volkswagen-branded cars did rise by 4.1% in May compared to May of 2015. However, considering that most car companies have enjoyed larger sales increases simply due to the rebound of the auto industry in Europe after 2009’s financial crisis, the improvements were actually rather distressingly modest for the German auto giant.