In the race for the leading role in the car of the future, Volkswagen is relying more heavily on the size of the group and on scaling.
The electric cars of all group brands are to be based on a uniform platform in the future, and there will also be a uniform architecture for battery technology, software for networked cars and mobility services.
"In order to tap into the revenue streams of the new mobility world, we are developing industry-leading platforms," said VW boss Herbert Diess on Tuesday when presenting the company's new strategy for the years up to 2030. He will also initiate this strategy himself, initially on Friday, the Group's supervisory board gave him a new contract until 2025.
Business correspondent in Hamburg.
Follow I follow
Diess also expects that the electric car will become cheaper over time due to the economies of scale and the advances in battery technology. “The price of mobility will drop below what it is today,” he said.
With the new strategy, the principle of identical parts for use in the highest possible number of pieces will soon no longer be limited to the familiar vehicle kits. In the future, it will also extend to digitization, electrification and services. This should use “previously unattainable synergies”, said Diess. The individual brands of the group should later make use of these elements and be able to build specific variants on them. The idea behind it is - as with earlier platforms - the idea of standardizing technical standards, reducing the variety of variants and thus also lowering costs. The planned basic vehicle system “Scalable Systems Platform” (SSP) is to be used in production from 2026 onwards for the Group's purely electric models.According to the plans, over 40 million cars are to be built on this basis.
At the same time, the Wolfsburg-based group is restructuring its structures.
In future, the VW brand will continue to be responsible for all of the Group's volume brands, i.e. Skoda, Seat, and VW commercial vehicles.
Audi assumes responsibility for the luxury brand Bentley from Porsche and is therefore also intended to challenge Daimler in the luxury segment.
Audi boss Markus Duesmann will control all of Volkswagen's premium brands in the future under the umbrella of the group.
This means that the premium activities of the group are "now organized efficiently," said Diess.
Porsche will work alone in the future.
“Porsche is in a league of its own,” said the VW boss.
The sports car brand, which has always achieved a return on sales of 15 percent in recent years, has always had “a greater degree of independence” in the group - but has been integrated into the group industrially.
Diess said that even in the new world of cars at Volkswagen, the individual brands will be an important differentiator. "The difference between the brands comes more than ever from software and services," said Diess. He raised the operating return target for 2025 from the previous seven to eight to eight to nine percent.
The conversion is to be financed - as in previous years - through the robust and high-margin business with internal combustion engines. At the same time, the margins of e-cars are to be improved through lower battery and production costs as well as increasing unit numbers. "The combustion engine market will decline by more than 20 percent in the next ten years," said Diess. However, the high cash flows from the business with combustion engines are “of the utmost importance in order to finance the transition phase.” In two to three years, the margins of the two technologies should have roughly equalized, estimates VW boss. He expects that by 2030 the global market for electric cars will also have caught up with combustion engines in terms of sales.
Volkswagen also announced that it would build its planned battery cell factory in Salzgitter together with its Chinese partner Gotion High-Tech. Production of the standard cell for the volume segment is to start there in 2025, which Europe's largest car manufacturer expects to achieve significant cost reductions. In Sweden, Volkswagen is already planning the production of premium cells together with the battery cell specialist Northvolt. As a location for a third large battery cell factory, Spain is an option, VW has now confirmed. As we heard, Diess regretted in internal rounds that he had not found a German automotive supplier like Bosch or Conti to partner with VW in battery technology.