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CEO Says VW Ready to Build 50 Million EVs

German automaker expects to spend nearly $60 bil on batteries alone.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.12, 2018

VW's CEO Herbert Diess said the company made arrangements to buy 50 million electric vehicle batteries.

Even though it won’t launch its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, until next year, Volkswagen’s CEO is forecasting massive growth in the sector, the German automaker already having “booked” plans to build 50 million BEVs.

Precisely how long it will take to hit that target Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess didn’t say during an interview with German trade publication Automobilwoche. But the VW Group is expected to sell 10.7 million vehicles this year, a figure that includes a broad range of powertrain technologies, primarily diesel and gasoline.

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The launch of a Golf-sized all-electric model next year will put Volkswagen in direct competition with Tesla, and the Germans are preparing to roll out an array of other BEVs, including a reborn Microbus set to be called the I.D. Buzz. Sibling brand Audi, meanwhile, just introduced its first BEV, the e-tron SUV. All told, the various VW Group brands, ranging from entry-level Seat and Skoda to high-line Bentley and Lamborghini, plan to have at least 40 all-electric models in showrooms by 2025. (more…)

VW Reportedly Set to Undercut Tesla Model 3 Price with Entry Long-Range EV

Entry model could come in around $23,000, according to report.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.09, 2018

VW plans to have two dozen fully electric vehicles, like this I.D. Crozz concept, in production.

Volkswagen is set to launch a base-model, long-range electric vehicle for less than $23,000, according to a report by Reuters, a price that would undercut the long-awaited entry-level Tesla Model 3 by more than a third.

Initially reluctant to enter the electrified vehicle market, the Volkswagen Group has now laid out an aggressive strategy that will include more than 40 all-electric models, as well as dozens of hybrids and plug-ins, for sale through its dozen different passenger vehicle brands. Meanwhile, the Wolfsburg-based carmaker is in discussions with Ford Motor Co. that could see them cooperate on EV development.

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The VW brand itself will cover a wide range of model segments with pure battery-electric vehicles through a new sub-brand dubbed I.D. These will include a reborn version of its legendary Microbus set to be marketed as the I.D. Buzz, as well as mid-sized and smaller offerings. The base model, TheDetroitBureau.com confirmed, is being referred to internally as the “MEB entry.” (more…)

Ford, VW Discussions Now Far More Wide-Ranging Than Originally Planned

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.02, 2018

Ford and VW initially wanted to discuss cooperation on light commercial vehicles.

Talks between Ford and Volkswagen are covering far more territory than originally planned, when the two signed a memorandum of understanding in June that initially focused on joint development of commercial vehicles.

While Ford officials have told TheDetroitBureau.com there is no thought to an exchange of equity, virtually everything else seems at least open for discussion, with a number of key ventures being considered. According to various U.S. and European sources, these include joint development of a small pickup, cooperation on electrified and autonomous vehicles and possibly even collaboration on sales and marketing in trouble-spot markets, such as Europe and Latin America.

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Several reports have suggested that a major announcement could be in the offing, and a source close to the talks told TheDetroitBureau that “There could be an update by the end of the year.” But that person stressed that not all the discussions underway are likely to be resolved immediately, and could be spread out over months, even years – even “if everything (being negotiated) comes true.”

(more…)

Ford, VW Looking at Potentially Major Alliance

Update: Ford rules out merger or equity swap with VW.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.18, 2018

Ford Motor Co. entered into a MoU with Volkswagen AG to work on some undetermined projects.

(This story has been updated to reflect comments from Ford ruling out a merger or equity swap.)

Like many an automotive manufacturer, Ford Motor Co. has been forming alliances with erstwhile rivals such as General Motors in a bid to reduce development costs and speed new products to market. But one potential partnership has been generating widespread buzz in industry circles, observers wondering just how far Ford might take things with German giant Volkswagen AG.

The two companies inked an MoU, or memorandum of understanding, announcing they will explore a number of possible projects, including the joint development and production of commercial vehicles.

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But industry analysts are now suggesting such a partnership could reach far beyond the commercial vehicle market, some even wondering whether there could be full-fledged merger or, at the least, an equity swap, in their future. (more…)

German Automakers Face 50:50 Chance of Collapse, VW CEO Warns

Herbert Diess warns battery-cars could cost jobs – and may not be as clean as promised.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.16, 2018

VW boss Herbert Diess, left,helps unveil the VW BUDD-e and eGolf Touch electric concepts.

When the U.S. economy collapsed a decade ago two of the three Detroit-based automakers plunged into bankruptcy, surviving only with the help of a massive federal bailout – and that’s the fate that could be facing the German auto industry, as well, the CEO of Volkswagen warned today.

The country’s powerful auto industry faces a 50:50 chance of suffering the same fate that nearly destroyed Detroit’s Big Three manufacturers, Herbert Diess said during a supplier conference in Wolkfsburg VW’s home town.

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“From today’s point of view the chances are perhaps 50-50 that the German auto industry will still belong among the global elite in 10 years’ time,” said Diess, who was appointed VW’s chief executive earlier this year, following a senior management shake-up.

(more…)

Woebcken Out as CEO of VW America, Audi Boss Keogh Takes Over

Bentley's Del Rosso takes over Audi for Keogh.

by Michael Strong on Oct.10, 2018

Hinrich Woebcken is out as the CEO of VW's North American operations, replaced by Audi chief Scott Keogh.

Volkswagen Group of America is shuffling the deck at the top for a new leader, but didn’t go too far to find him: former Audi of America chief Scott Keogh is replacing Hinrich Woebcken as President and CEO.

Keogh, 49, joined Audi in 2006 as Chief Marketing Officer and ascended to President in 2012. He’s played a major role in the near-luxury brand’s continuous sales growth for more than a decade. In fact, sales doubled between 2010 and 2015.

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Woebcken took over VWofA in January 2016. He came on during a difficult time for the brand as it was in the early stages of dealing with a global diesel scandal, which was uncovered by U.S. federal environmental regulators. (more…)

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Now Out of Job and Still in Jail

Ousted exec “wishes to concentrate on his defense.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.03, 2018

Audi's Board of Management Chairman Rupert Stadler has been fired and remains in jail on charges related to dieselgate.

During any other year, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler would have been a notable presence at the Paris Auto Show where the brand formally introduced to the public this week its new e-tron battery-electric vehicle. But Stadler was a no-show because he remains in a German jail where he has been locked up since June in connection with VW’s diesel emissions scandal.

And even if he eventually beats the charges he now faces, Stadler will have to go looking for a new job. About the same time Audi was revealing the e-tron in Paris, the Volkswagen Group announced that it was terminating Stadler, effective immediately.

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In a statement, the company said they had reached “an agreement with Rupert Stadler on the termination,” adding that “Due to his ongoing pretrial detention, he is unable to fulfill his duties as a member of the board of management and wishes to concentrate on his defense.” (more…)

VW, Stanford U Partner to Develop New Fuel Cell Technology

New process could cut price significantly.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.28, 2018

New technology being developed by Volkswagen and Stanford University might make this type of fueling up a reality.

Volkswagen has teamed up with Stanford University to develop a process to manufacture the fuel cells that can power vehicles in the future by reducing the amount of platinum used.

Fuel-cell technology is regarded as a serious alternative to battery-electric technology, but it has always come with a comparatively high cost.

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One of the biggest cost drivers for fuel cells is the use of the platinum, which is required as a catalyst to operate the fuel cell.  (more…)

Volkswagen Reveals $6B “Electric for All” Plans

German automaker will debut five-door hatchback in 2019.

by Michael Strong on Sep.17, 2018

Thomas Ulbrich, left, and Christian Senger outline Volkswagen's plans for its MEB-based electric vehicles.

Volkswagen AG is readying to kick off its long-expected onslaught of electric vehicles from its MEB platform, revealing an investment of more than $6 billion for plant upgrades to produce more than 10 million EVs by the end of 2025.

The moves are part of what VW dubs its “Electric for All” plan, based off the flexibility of its modular electric drive, or MEB, platform. It’s expected to the base for as many as 27 model between now and 2025.

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“We will make electric vehicles popular and get as many people as possible excited about electric cars,” said Brand Board Member for E-Mobility Thomas Ulbrich. “The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen – a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf.” (more…)

Volkswagen AG’s Legal Woes Continue to Expand

Automaker enduring two diesel-scandal lawsuits in Germany.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.13, 2018

Former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is accused of failing to provide info about the diesel scandal soon enough.

Volkswagen AG’s legal woes from the fallout from rigging of diesel emissions tests continue to expand as it faces a class action lawsuit courtesy of a new law in Germany designed to protect the interests of consumers.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations, or Vzbv, said it would undertake “pioneering work” with motorists’ lobby group ADAC, or General German Automobile Club, by filing for damages on behalf of Volkswagen owners with diesel engines.

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The class action was made possible after the German cabinet approved a law that allows consumer protection organizations to litigate on behalf of the consumers, avoiding the high costs of individual lawsuits.  (more…)