VW sales momentum positive in all regions, says CEO
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[April 24, 2018]
BEIJING (Reuters) - Volkswagen
trumpeted a bright start to 2018 at the Beijing auto show on Tuesday and
outlined spending plans for electric vehicle and autonomous driving
ventures in China.
The German group, undergoing far-reaching reform as it emerges from the
2015 emissions cheating scandal that resulted in billions of euros in
fines, is on track for profitable growth this year, new CEO Herbert
Diess said at the show.
"We had a very positive start into 2018. We see positive momentum in all
regions," Diess said, referring to group-wide deliveries that increased
by 7.4 percent in the first quarter to 2.7 million vehicles.
"We see good opportunities for profitable growth in 2018, too, but we
need to speed up (reform of the company)," he added, noting rapid
changes across the industry and heightened competition, especially in
Operating profit at Europe's largest automotive group is expected to
have risen by 2.3 percent in the first three months of the year to 4.47
billion euros ($5.45 billion) and is seen expanding by 7.3 percent this
year to 18.3 billion euros, a Reuters poll of analysts and brokerages
showed ahead of its quarterly results on Thursday.
Separately, Jochem Heizmann, head of VW's China business, said that VW
and its three Chinese joint ventures plan to spend 15 billion euros
through 2022 on electric cars (EVs) and new technologies such as
self-driving vehicles and alternative mobility services.
That compares with plans announced by VW last November to invest 10
billion euros alone in all-electric and semi-electric cars in China by
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Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's new CEO, speaks at a Volkswagen Group's
media event ahead of the Beijing Auto Show in Beijing, China April
24, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee
Together with JV partner Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC) <600418.SS>, VW plans
to launch an electric sport-utility vehicle under a new brand called "Sol" with
a range of more than 300km, Heizmann said.
The group, which has a goal to deliver 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) in
China by 2025, plans to start building EVs in at least six Chinese factories by
2021, Diess said.
The CEO said VW has no plans to alter the JV structure of its Chinese operations
even though Chinese authorities are planning to open up the world's largest auto
market by removing caps on foreign ownership.
German-Chinese automotive tie-ups are also extending to batteries for electric
Battery maker Tianjin Lishen plans to open a sales office in Germany, its first
in Europe, and is in talks to supply local manufacturers of electric vehicles, a
source at the company has told Reuters.
Two sources said that VW and Daimler <DAIGn.DE> are negotiating with the
unlisted Chinese company.
($1 = 0.8201 euros)
(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by David
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