The Volkswagen Group went big at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, and the company doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. One of the biggest takeaways from this year’s show was Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn’s announcement that the Volkswagen Group plans to become the electric vehicle market leader by 2018.
At the show, Volkswagen introduced the e-Up! and e-Golf all-electric models, and Winterkorn claimed that the VW Group would offer a total of 14 hybrid-electric or electric vehicles by next year. If VW finds enough demand for these alternative powertrains, the Volkswagen Group could offer up to 40 models with electric or hybrid drivetrains in the future, according to Winterkorn. This is big news, especially considering that Nissan, the current EV leader, recently announced far less ambitious plans to expand its global EV lineup to just five models.
According to a report by Reuters, though, future expansion for Volkswagen will not be limited to electric vehicles, as Volkswagen Group production chief Michael Macht told Reuters that the brand is planning to set up production in Southeast Asian markets. With European sales low for nearly all carmakers, the Volkswagen Group will look to grow in emerging markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Reuters also reported that Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO Jonathan Browning cited the upcoming CrossBlue SUV as an important factor for increasing volume in the U.S. This new model, which was introduced as a concept earlier this year, is likely to be a seven-seat midsize crossover designed specifically for the U.S. market. In fact, CEO Winterkorn told reporters earlier this summer that the CrossBlue concept was destined for sale in the U.S. Meanwhile, Browning said that achieving the full potential of existing models like the Jetta and Passat would be key for achieving Volkswagen’s goal of 800,000 annual U.S. sales by 2018. (In 2012, Volkswagen sold 438,133 cars here.)
VW is also allegedly considering the possibility of commercial vehicles in the U.S., especially with the relative success of the compact Ford Transit Connect van in the U.S. We don’t know which models this commercial vehicle lineup would include, but likely candidates include the compact Volkswagen Caddy van and possibly the Volkswagen Amarok pickup, both of which are sold globally by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
Source: Volkswagen, Reuters