Berlin, Germany, January 16, 2019 – Ralf Brandstaetter, the company’s head of operations in China, described the nation’s fast-paced, cutthroat market as a “huge fitness centre for the industry,” adding that Volkswagen (VOWG p.DE) intends to increase both its higher-end and lower-end offering in the Chinese market.
In China, Volkswagen has long been the market leader for combustion engine vehicles, but it trails domestic rivals in the sale of electric vehicles (EVs), most notably BYD, which sold 40,046 EVs between January 1 and January 8, as opposed to 1,962 for the Volkswagen passenger brand, according to Chinese brokerage CMBI.
At a media roundtable, Brandstaetter stated, “We don’t want to give up this competition; we want to engage. When asked whether the automaker hoped to maintain its position as China’s top foreign automaker in the electric age, he responded, “We aim to play a leading role… the cards are being shuffled again.”
By further localising research and development for Chinese models, the automaker hopes to reduce the four-year average time to market for new models to closer to the 2.5-year average for its Chinese competitors.
Because of our high standards for quality, Brandstaetter stated, “We allow ourselves more time, but we could be faster.”
Although not the entry-level ID.2 planned for Europe, it intends to release the top-end ID.7 in China together with a new vehicle below the ID.4 like a smaller sedan or SUV, Brandstaetter added.
One charge of an ID.4 costs approximately five times more in Germany than it does in China, according to the China CEO, who also blamed cheaper energy for the quick expansion of China’s EV sector.
Brandstaetter referred to the ongoing discussion in Germany about how to diversify its economic ties so that it depends less on China when he remarked that Volkswagen must operate “from a position of strength” within China.
“Diversification does not include abandoning China and focusing more on America. It entails intensifying American efforts while continuing to capitalise on China’s commercial potential “said he.
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