Volkswagen Group officials said they are investing more than ever before in eco-friendly vehicles.
Last year, Group research and development expenditure rose by 15 percent to the record value of €10.2 billion. “The lion’s share is going to ?green' technologies,” Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said before the opening of the Geneva Motor Show. He said that the Group was reinforcing its objective to become the world’s leading automaker, also in ecological terms, by 2018.
Mr. Winterkorn added: “Volkswagen doesn’t just talk – we also act. Last year, CO2 emissions by our EU new vehicle fleet averaged 128 grams/km. That means we are already well under the statutory threshold set for 2015.” He said there had also been considerable progress in production: “We are taking great strides towards our goal of making our factories 25 percent more eco-friendly. Specifically, we aim to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as CO2 emissions, by 25 percent by 2018. Thanks to the creativity and dedication of our employees, we are already halfway to achieving this goal. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index also provides convincing proof that we set the ecological standards. The world’s most important sustainability ranking listed Volkswagen in first place in 2013.”
Customers can currently choose between 54 model variants from Volkswagen Group brands that emit less than 100 grams CO2/km. 324 model variants are below 120 grams. Mr. Winterkorn said, “The Volkswagen Group offers the world’s largest low-CO2 fleet to have already taken to the road.” The range includes 3-liter cars such as the Golf TDI BlueMotion1 or the Audi A3 TDI ultra2 as well as “3-euro cars" such as the eco up!3, which can travel 100 kilometers for about three euros. He said that the plug-in hybrids Golf GTE4 and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron5 were now being added to the “widest range of electric vehicles” – from the e-up!6 to the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid7. Winterkorn: “Further high-efficiency models such as the Audi A8, A6 and Q7 or the plug-in hybrid version of the Volkswagen Passat are to follow soon. Because this technology has a future.“
He said the Group’s modular strategy in production means that it will be possible to electrify more than 40 models over the next few years. Mr. Winterkorn said, “Our modular toolkits place us in a position to develop and build our cars faster, more flexibly and more economically than in the past. We can offer even greater variety – as well as producing niche models in a profitable way. Our toolkits also mean that we can offer all our innovations and powertrains in all segments and markets within a very short space of time.”
Mr. Winterkorn said Volkswagen would consistently expand its sustainability program. “We are not satisfied with just making eco-friendly cars at eco-friendly plants. We conceive and shape mobility in holistic terms. From power generation, through development, production, sale and operation to the recycling stage. With an environmental strategy that is firmly anchored and measurable with respect to all the brands and regions of the Volkswagen Group.”