Even in the wake of the embarrassing (and costly) Dieselgate emissions scandal, Volkswagen Group remains one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world - and it says it has the resources to take on Tesla in the electric car market.
Although Tesla is years ahead of VW’s plans for electrification, and the Silicon Valley carmaker plans to be producing 500,000 cars a year by the end of next year, and perhaps one million by 2020, VW believes it will win. Volkswagen brand boss, Herbert Diess, said at a recent press conference:
“Anything Tesla can do, we can surpass.”
VW is comprised of a myriad of companies, all of which will move to electrification, and all of which can share architecture, components, and assembly. The car manufacturer won’t truly break into the EV market until 2019 or 2020, but plans to sell one million EVs by 2025, five years behind Tesla’s similar target. Diess continued:
“We are confident that in this new world, we will become a market leader.”
There is really no question as to whether or not VW has the capacity and resources to exceed in high volume electric vehicle sales. It is more a question of whether it will actually happen. Putting their money where their mouth is might be a stumbling block for VW. Talking about Tesla, Diess said:
“It’s our ambition, with our new architecture, to stop them there, to rein them in.”
Of course Volkswagen Group can handle immense volume, and it's probably fair to assume that it will make compelling electrified products, but better than Tesla is the sticky point. Bigger is not always better, and volume is not always king. Competitive pricing is expected, and healthy competition is welcome in the new segment.
It will be years, however, before VW can completely separate itself from the Dieselgate scandal. For now, getting back on track, cutting costs, and generating a profit needs to come ahead of anything else.