Volkswagen just laid out an environmentally-friendly roadmap that it hopes will clean up its tarnished image from the diesel emissions scandal and put it at the forefront of the fast moving transportation industry.
In a speech last week, the company’s CEO Matthias Müller announced that the automaker will sharpen its branded image and marketing targets, “launch an electrification initiative second to none in the industry,” and advance “autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.”
Volkswagen and its subsidiaries – including Porsche and Audi – currently offer roughly 340 different vehicle models. The automaker plans on reducing the number of models offered and limiting the core modular architectures to four distinct genres – “economy vehicles, volume models, the premium segment and sports cars.” The corporation also plans on fine tuning economy vehicle offerings and partnering with local companies (not named in the speech) to expand sales in Asia.
“Our electrification initiative…takes center stage in the Group’s future drivetrain strategy,” said Müller. The company plans on launching 30 new electric models by 2025. The Group expects to sell two to three million e-vehicles annually by that time, which will comprise an estimated 25 percent of vehicle sales. The company will also explore “strategic options for developing battery technology as a new core competency.”
Volkswagen Group intends to drive the autonomous transport industry forward by developing “in-house” software for self-driving cars and expanding its business into the ride-sharing market. The company recently invested $300 million in GETT, an Uber competitor, which Müller said, “is the nucleus for expanding (this component of) the business.”
Despite the expected $18 billion in emissions scandal costs (the official settlement will be concluded on June 28) and a net loss of over $6 billion in 2015, the German car company plans to reap seven to eight percent return on sales by 2025.