Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess underlined again at the virtual balance sheet press conference of the group that within two generations the industry will change radically: first in the direction of e-mobility and then with a focus on software. But that needs to be financed. “The combustion engine business will allow us to finance the change,” explains Diess.
Last year, the group took a step forward with operating earnings before taxes of EUR 8,5 billion that was not to be expected in the first Corona year. The good performance in the crisis year 2020 gives VW additional tailwind, said Diess.
The goal of making progress in the transformation into the leading provider of individual mobility in the electric and fully networked age remains within reach. To this end, the group will continue to develop its platform strategy across all vehicle classes and brands. In this way, the group wants to reduce complexity, realize economies of scale and synergies between the brands and accelerate the transformation of the group.
No date for the end of the combustion engine makes sense
The four pillars of hardware, software, battery & charging and mobility services are to support the group. With the modular electric drive kit (MEB), Volkswagen already has a high-performance, pure battery-electric electric platform. This is produced in Europe, China and the USA. 2022 models based on the MEB are to be offered across the Group by 27. In the coming year, the group will also bring the first models based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), which allows more acceleration, longer ranges and shorter charging times. With the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), the group wants to develop the next generation of a purely electric, fully digital and highly scalable vehicle platform by the middle of the decade, on which models of all brands and segments can then be built.
With connectivity and software, too, Volkswagen is aiming for synergy effects across all brands in the coming years. The basis for this is provided by the "Car.Software-Org" founded in 2020 with the "VW.OS" operating system. Version 1.2 will be used with the PPE, version 2.0 then across the group with the SSP. By then, the proportion of self-developed software in vehicles should increase from ten percent today to 60 percent. The Car.Software-Org, for which around 10.000 employees are planned, should also lay the technical foundations for autonomous driving as well as for data-based business models and new mobility services. Volkswagen has announced that it will build a total of plants for unit cells and batteries with a total capacity of 240 gigawatt hours.
One battery for almost all models should reduce costs
By 2030, the standard cell is to be installed across all brands in around 80 percent of all e-vehicles in the group. Volkswagen intends to reduce the cost of battery cells by up to 50 percent in the entry-level segment and by up to 30 percent in the volume segment. The fourth element of the new platform roadmap consists of mobility and other services. These include the MOIA ride pooling service, the WeShare car sharing offer and flexible subscription offers from Volkswagen Bank.
The outgoing CFO Frank Witter presented detailed figures for the past financial year and an outlook for 2021: “With an operating result before special items of over 10 billion euros, we have significantly exceeded expectations from the first peak of the pandemic in spring 2020. We are very satisfied that, despite the pandemic, the Volkswagen Group has achieved its strategic goal of more than 10 billion euros in clean cash flow in 2020. "
The largest single market, China, recovered quickly and proved to be an anchor of stability during the crisis. All of the Group's brands represented achieved positive results there. In South America, the company was able to increase its market share to a new record of over 14 percent. Here the group expects to return to profitability in the current financial year. In North America, five years after the diesel crisis, Volkswagen is making a comeback with a large number of new models tailored to the US market. In Europe, sales of e-cars in particular rose sharply with the market launch of the ID.3. The share of electrified vehicles in deliveries in Western Europe increased to 10,5 percent (2019: 1,9 percent).
CO2- Goals in Europe should be achieved
In the current year, the group expects the CO2-Target to be achieved in Europe due to the significantly increasing share of electrified vehicles. In 2020, the group more than tripled sales of all-battery electric vehicles. The group aims to become the world market leader for e-mobility by 2025 at the latest. By 2030, the proportion of all-electric vehicles in Europe should increase to up to 60 percent. The group refused to set a fixed date for the end of combustion technology, with reference to the different primary energy use depending on the region and the regulatory framework. (ampnet / Sm)