How “New Volkswagen” wants to become the world market leader in electric cars


The Volkswagen Group is currently launching one of the largest electric offensives in the automotive industry. Ralf Brandstatter, Chief Operating Officer at Volkswagen’s passenger car division, explains the idea of “New Volkswagen” in an interview published on the company’s own blog – and why immediately after the electric car ID.3 the new Golf is coming.

Mr. Brandstatter, what does “New Volkswagen” mean?? what does that stand for?

Ralf Brandstatter: In order to understand how “New Volkswagen” came about, we have to go back a step to autumn 2015. The economic starting position of the Volkswagen brand is not good: it lacks our products to profitability. And core regions have been in decline for years. The brand must urgently invest in future technologies – but the money is missing. It was about the existence of Volkswagen. Volkswagen quickly needed a substantial plan to survive the crisis and become sustainable. With the then developed strategy transform 2025+ we want to bring “New Volkswagen” to life.

And then the diesel scandal also shakes the company ..

I agree! We all knew, that’s not just a violent quake. This is an eruption that uses us: now penalized penalties, billions lawsuits and sustainable damage to our most important capital: the trust of our customers. What started as a fundamental crisis was at the same time as the catalyst for the transformation of Volkswagen.

What were the essential decisions of the crisis meeting in autumn 2015?

In order to create the CO2 targets without the diesel, the electrification of our vehicles is the only meaningful way. We knew it does not bring us further, simply to electrify the modular crossbody. With him we would neither be competitive with regard to the costs or the range. The idea of the MEB, a pure electro platform, was born. By elimination of the burner drive train we get a completely new vehicle architecture: we can offer space outside dimensions in the interior as in Passat, which increase battery capacity and keep the cost low. The MEB thus offers our customers a real added value. To enable that, even with the existing resources, it had to give hard cuts. Thus, among other things, the Phaeton was stopped – so that the electromobility can come to the breakthrough.

They spoke of an economically difficult location in autumn 2015. What did you do concretely to finance the transformation?

In the first phase of our strategy transform 2025+ it is about the radical restructuring of the company. For more earning power, we have launched the SUV offensive. By 2025, the Volkswagen Cars brand alone will expand its SUV offer worldwide from currently eleven to more than 30 models. Then every second vehicle from Volkswagen will be a SUV.

The future pact also made a contribution to restructuring in Germany. We have improved productivity and significantly reduced the fixed costs. The planned three billion euros in cost reductions by 2020 we have almost reached.

In addition, we have launched the economic turn-around in core regions such as North and South America and Russia. Colleagues in the regions work with full commitment to achieve these goals. At the latest 2020, the so far that we will achieve the break-even.

How Graphic: VW

And also organizational has done much: we have introduced the series structure and thus established the entrepreneur in the company. We have created board departments for the most important areas, such as digitization and electrification, as well as for the region in which we deliver the most cars to customers: for China.

We have our sights firmly set on the six percent return on sales in 2022, three years earlier than originally planned. And we want to become more economical in the long term: During this time, we were able to increase the return from 1.8 percent at the beginning to almost 4 percent at the end of 2018.

So Volkswagen used the most difficult phase in its history after the diesel crisis to make the brand stronger, better and more sustainable?

I hope so. With “New Volkswagen” we are reinventing ourselves while remaining true to our brand essence. Volkswagen brings zero-emission mobility for everyone.

But one of the most important findings that Volkswagen has moved from the diesel crisis is that we need a different corporate culture. We have therefore triggered a fundamental cultural change. I am convinced that only if we are honest and decent in the company, we will recover the trust of our customers, dealers and society as a whole company.

With “New Volkswagen” two completely new vehicles for the compact class come to the market in the next few months: the ID.3 and the new Gulf. Why do you offer almost at the same time a fully electrified and a combustion vehicle?

That does not contradict. Because for a long time we need both: Modern internal combustion engines and the E-drive. The presentation of the new golf generation is still a special event for our team. He is the bestseller and benchmark in the compact segment, the favorite car of many people worldwide and test winner. And it should stay that way. The new golf will continue to continue the success story.

The Gulf will have a state-of-the-art aggregate portfolio and contribute to environmentally friendly mobility. This includes an electrified gasoline engine, a mildhybrid that is used for the first time in the golf. In addition, there will be two plug-in hybrid variants with which the golf drive up to 60 kilometers pure electric. The id.3 creates ranges up to 550 kilometers pure electric. We talk to the two cars different target groups.

While the new Golf is produced on the further developed MQB platform, the ID comes.3 of the completely newly developed MEB platform. With which result?

The id.3 is the first fully electric, CO2 neutral electric car. The id.3 will cost as much as a comparable golf: it starts for under 30.000 EURO. The range is between 330 and 550 kilometers. This will cover the needs of our customers. It’s right: the ID.3 is the first E-car that uses our new MEB platform. With her, we can map SUVs over limousines to Bulli all electric car variants worldwide on a platform.

The MEB is thus the epitome of the transformation of our product portfolio. And he marks the starting point to the world market leader of e-mobility up to 2025.

The Volkswagen Group now also offers the MEB other car roders for use. With what goal?

The MEB is to be established as the standard of e-mobility. On his basis, we make the individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable and accessible for as many people as possible. By the most extensive spread of the MEB and the associated economies of scale, the cost of e-mobility can be significantly reduced.

How Graphic: VW

This should make individual mobility be affordable and usable for many people in the future. I trust the MEB to become the industry standard. With the MEB, the Volkswagen brand wants to become the world market leader in e-mobility by 2025. We then want to produce one million electric vehicles a year. This is the fixed star of our strategy, so to speak.

Is the ID.3 after the Beetle and Golf, now the third complete reinvention of the brand?

You could say it like that. With the Beetle, we have created individual mobility for everyone. For the first time, families were able to go on holiday – many to Italy – in their own car. It was a whole new feeling of freedom. With the Golf we democratized new technologies. What customers could previously only afford in the luxury class, we have brought to the Golf – such as ESP and ABS in series. Beetle and Golf – both are typically Volkswagen. You have shaped the Volkswagen DNA worldwide.

With the ID.3 will be the same. Volkswagen is on the way to emission-free mobility for all – this is our compass that determines our actions. All that electrolizes and motivates us a lot.

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