VW Hopes to Triple U.S. Sales in Next 10 Years

Detroit News

Seek­ing to be the world’s largest automak­er and to have tripled its U.S. sales vol­ume, Volk­swa­gen AG is bet­ting big on elec­tric vehi­cles and gas-elec­tric hybrids.

Get the full sto­ry on what VW has in mind as it pop­u­lates the Frank­furt Motor Show.

Frank­furt, Ger­many Volk­swa­gen AG is bet­ting big on elec­tric vehi­cles and gas-elec­tric hybrids.

The automak­er, which until now has empha­sized diesels in its green strat­e­gy, came to the Frank­furt Motor Show with its e-Up elec­tric vehi­cle and an elec­tric ver­sion of its Golf hatch­back called the e-Golf. VW pledged to bring as many as 40 EVs and hybrids to mar­ket around the world.

The com­pa­ny, which wants to be the world’s largest automak­er and has a 10-year-plan to more than triple U.S. sales, bragged about its major EV effort, which it sees as an inte­gral part of its glob­al dom­i­na­tion strat­e­gy. VW sales have lagged in the past year in the U.S. and are down 1.3 per­cent through August, large­ly because of what ana­lysts see as an aging line­up.

The elec­tric ver­sion of the Golf will go on sale in ear­ly 2015 in the U.S., ini­tial­ly in lim­it­ed states, said Volk­swa­gen of Amer­i­ca chief Jonathan Brown­ing.

VW CEO Mar­tin Win­terko­rn said that 14 mod­els from sev­er­al VW Group brands will be offered world­wide as EVs — pure elec­tric vehi­cles and plug-in hybrids — or as con­ven­tion­al hybrids by 2014. If there is suf­fi­cient demand, as many as 40 new mod­els could be EVs or hybrids. He vowed to be the industry’s elec­tric-vehi­cle leader by 2018.

“We have devel­oped the know-how for elec­tric motors and bat­tery sys­tems at our own com­po­nents plants, we have recruit­ed 400 top experts for elec­tric trac­tion and qual­i­fied almost 70,000 devel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion and ser­vice employ­ees in this new tech­nol­o­gy — the biggest elec­tri­fi­ca­tion train­ing pro­gram in our indus­try,” Win­terko­rn said.

VW board mem­ber Chris­t­ian Klin­gler said the automak­er is com­mit­ted to EVs, even though it was behind some com­peti­tors. “We take maybe some time — a lit­tle bit longer (than oth­ers),” Klin­gler told reporters in a round­table dis­cus­sion.

Klin­gler declined to dis­close how many EVs the automak­er hopes to sell. “Step by step (EV sales will come). In the long-term, there is no way to go around elec­tric cars. They will come. It could be five or 10 years or 20 years, I don’t know. All I know is we will be there.”

 

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