VW kicks off electric future at Paris 2016

Published: 28 September 2016

► All-new urban mobility brand planned
► 30 new electric models by 2025
► New I.D. electric car to lead the charge

On the eve of the 2016 Paris motor show, VW Group CEO Matthias Mueller redefined his company’s global role in the automotive sector, spearheaded by the creation of a secret new 13th brand within the group.

Against the futuristic backdrop of the Frank Gehry-designed Louis Vuitton Centre, Mueller claimed the as-yet unnamed Berlin-based brand would become Europe’s top urban transport provider and one of the top three movers of urbanites in the world. 

'Optimism has become scarce in the automotive sector… just making excellent cars isn’t enough,' said Müller, adding that this bold new strategy would mean VW was well prepared to lead from the front.

A new brand for a renewed VW

The 13th brand (it joins – deep breath - Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Bugatti, Ducati, Man, VW Commercial Vehicles, Bentley, SEAT, Lamborghini, Porsche and Scania) will form an integral part of the Group’s 2025 Strategy that will see VW battle its rivals to become the world’s leading provider of sustainable transport.

Unsurprisingly, China will play a key role in this growth: VW has strengthened its ties with tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tensent, recently signed an joint venture with JAC, and has furthered its interests in commercial vehicle maker Navistar and hail-ride company Gett.

That’s more than a little ambitious – how’s VW going to tackle this big hairy goal?

Mueller said the company’s advanced new Electric MEB platform architecture will be rolled out across the entire group by 2020, which will supercharge – ha! – a raft of 30 all-new electric vehicles by 2025. Some 17 plug-in hybrids will make their debut over the next 24 months.

The new electric VW concept I.D.

And VW is prepared for the transition away from owner-drivers with Mueller claiming that in the future VW may operate its own global taxi fleet for urban drivers looking for mobility without the need to purchase their own vehicles. So, a distinct move away from making cars to providing transport…

Lots of exciting talk about the electric future, then. So, presumably no mention of Dieselgate?

'We’re doing everything we can to come to terms with this crisis… petrol and diesel will still play a role in our future for the next 20 years, but we need to shape the future of VW today,' said Mueller, talking almost exactly a year after the emissions crisis ripped the heart of Wolfsburg, leaving senior management strewn in its wake.

The much vaunted I.D. electric concept, due for its full world debut on Thursday 29 September, will play a pivotal role in shaping VW’s electric future. Check back in tomorrow for full details on this Golf-for-the-electric-generation as they become available.

All the news and world debuts from the Paris motor show

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars

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