image: VW ID.4
[article by Mark Kane, Inside EVs, April 9th 2020]
Don't lose hope. According to VW, the situation in China is improving quickly. Within a few months, we hope to see the same elsewhere.
Volkswagen announced today that its business in China is showing clear signs of recovery. Dealerships report strong customer interest and plants are coming online again:
- all Volkswagen brand dealerships in China have resumed business
- Audi and Škoda brands are also returning to normal
- 32 out of 33 Volkswagen Group China's plants have resumed production
And significantly - the MEB-based electric cars* will be introduced this year - no delay to next year!
SAIC Volkswagen electric-only plant in Anting, China
"All 2,000 Volkswagen brand dealerships are now open again, with showroom traffic during the last weekend of March comparable to the same period last year. Over 95% of the dealerships of the other locally producing brands Audi and ŠKODA have also reopened. The SAIC VOLKSWAGEN joint venture plant in Changsha also resumed operations this week. The total number of Group facilities that have resumed operations has thus risen to 32 of the 33 car and component plants."
That's are all great news. During the second half of 2020 the company intends to start series production of new electric cars with two partners - SAIC and FAW:
- SAIC Volkswagen joint venture plant in Anting to be ready for 300,000 MEB-based BEVs annually (starting in October 2020, according to the initial plan.)
- FAW-Volkswagen joint venture plant in Foshan also to be ready for 300,000 MEB-based BEVs annually
We don't yet know about the models, but the first one might be a Chinese version of the Volkswagen ID.4.
"In the second half of the year, Volkswagen Group China will reach major milestones in its electrification strategy for the Chinese market. Two plants will begin local production of all- electric models based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive toolkit (MEB). The sites in Anting and Foshan will have a combined capacity of 600,000 units per year. Following the start of this production, Volkswagen ID. models - a family of fully-electric, fully-connected Volkswagen cars - will then debut in China. Additionally, local production of Audi’s e-tron will get underway in Changchun at the end of the year.
Volkswagen Group China CEO Stephan Wöllenstein said:
“Our dealerships are seeing customers on the showroom floors once again. There are growing signs of recovery, with a good chance that the Chinese car market could reach last year’s level in early summer. For Volkswagen, many highlights are still to come in 2020. This year, MEB production will begin and the Volkswagen ID. family will debut in China.”
* SAIC Volkswagen's new facility in Anting is envisioned for 300,000 MEB-based (Modular Electric Drive) BEVs annually, starting in October 2020.
Eyes of the world were focused mostly on the progress at the Tesla Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, but Volkswagen's joint venture with SAIC recently also built an all-electric car factory in China.
The factory is almost completed and already started pre-production of the first model, which is expected to be a Chinese-version of the Volkswagen ID.4.
A similar factory for 300,000 BEVs annually will be launched also by the FAW-Volkswagen joint venture in Foshan.
It proves how serious Volkswagen's plans are for China. As a group (all brands), VW and its joint ventures aim for EV sales of 22 million cumulatively by 2028, including 11.6 million in China.