Report: VW Group to Kill 40-Plus Models to Focus on EVs, Autonomy, Ridesharing
Follows earlier rumors VW would sell off side businesses
VW is doing its best to embrace the future of mobility, and that increasingly appears to involve shedding a lot of its current baggage. Automotive News Europe, citing a report from German newspaper Handelsblatt, says that VW Group will halt production of upwards of 40 models in an effort to devote "billions of euros" toward EVs, autonomy, and ridesharing.
The report quotes a VW spokesperson who says that the exact number of models that will be axed is still under consideration. The cuts could affect any number of VW-owned nameplates including Audi, Skoda, and Seat.
Just recently company CEO Matthias Mueller announced VW would introduce 30 pure EVs by 2025, as the German automaker seeks to rid itself of the bad reputation it's gained following the diesel emissions scandal. Our own European bureau chief Georg Kacher uncovered that VW's preliminary timetable will feature seven MEB platform-based EVs coming between October 2016 and October 2018.
We also know Audi is pushing hard on autonomous driving, but that the company doesn't see fully autonomy as most people envision it happening for at least 10 years. In the meantime, traffic jam assist technologies in the Audi Q7 and A4 will be the important stepping stones toward self-driving capability down the road. Infrastructure and legislation present their own obstacles, as do weather and road condition limitations. Audi has also invested $28 million into ridesharing outfit Silvercar, in some ways mirroring efforts from companies like GM and its partnership with Maven.
On top of this, rumors have swirled that VW was considering selling off some of its side businesses like Ducati motorcycles and Scania and Man heavy trucks. Ducati however, appears to be safe. Multiple outlets are reporting that Audi CEO Ruper Stadler said "Ducati is not for sale," and that it remains an important part of the Audi portfolio.