Manufacturing News

VW China sets aggressive EV sales target

Volkswagen AG aims to sell as many as 400,000 electric vehicles a year in China by 2020 as the government considers legislation to require companies to sell a minimum quota of eco-friendly cars.

VW, which counts China as its biggest market, currently sells a small number of EVs in the country, all of them imported. The German automaker plans to manufacture most of the EVs it sells in China domestically, and sees the country as its biggest market for such automobiles, VW China chief Jochem Heizmann said.

Its first locally produced plug-in hybrid, the Audi A6 L E-Tron, will go on sale early next year.

China will "develop faster than any other region in the world" in terms of adoption of electric vehicles, Heizmann told reporters at a briefing in Guangzhou ahead of the city's auto show. The government will push harder rather than pull back on promoting EVs because it is "related to their environment."

Heizmann's comments come as China considers imposing quotas on automakers to ensure that by 2018 at least 8 percent of sales are electric cars, plug-in hybrids, or fuel-cell powered vehicles.

The targets have drawn opposition from within the German auto industry, which says such short-term targets are unrealistic and give an unfair advantage to Chinese producers.

China is pushing for development of these vehicles to reduce pollution and ease its reliance on imported oil.

For VW, its EV strategy in China is part of a broader push into green cars as the German carmaker seeks to recover from diesel emissions violations. Globally, the company is targeting sales of as many as 3 million EVs by 2025.

The company's supervisory board is scheduled to meet Friday to sign off on the investment plan.

The carmaker also announced three partnerships on Thursday.

Volkswagen will set up joint ventures with Didi Chuxing and Shouqi Group to provide ride-hailing and car-sharing services, respectively.

It also will team up with used-car trading platform Youxin to sell pre-owned vehicles, Heizman said.

Toyota Motor Corp., which competes with Volkswagen for the global sales crown, said Thursday it will set up a unit to develop EVs.

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