Fully electric Volkswagen production in Europe by 2033 at the latest

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“By 2033 at the latest, Volkswagen will only manufacture electric cars in Europe”. Word of Thomas Schäfer, the new CEO of the Volkswagen brand, recalled to the Old Continent a couple of years ago to drive Skoda and after only 20 months promoted to number one of the most famous brand, as well as responsible for the “mass” ones which also include the manufacturer from the Czech Republic, Seat, Cupra and the Commercial Vehicles division. Omen name, Schäfer, meaning “shepherd” in German, is 51 years old and gained his experience at Daimler, working extensively abroad, before being hired by the Volkswagen group to head first global production and, since 2015, African affairs. Calm and smiling, he is a manager who loves synthesis, which he expects from his collaborators and which he also transmits to others. His speech on the first 100 days as CEO is just five pages, which also contain a reference to electrification in the rest of the world, where Volkswagen will be more flexible. He explains that Volkswagen must go back to being “loved” and leave the dieselgate behind to look to the future. “We want to be the best brand, the best team and get the best results,” he explains. He has revolutionized the top management (the most important appointments are those of Thomas Ulbrich in the newly created New Mobility division, of Kai Grünitz in technical development and of Andreas Mayer in charge of finance) to get Volkswagen to focus on one thing: customers.

Schäfer has goals that are no less than ambitious, even if his words seem to show humility: he wants to make Volkswagen listen to its community. The first results should be seen as early as next year with the review of the ID.3. But the CEO of the “del popolo” brand also anticipates that it will bring “ten new electric models to the market by 2026”. And that will streamline the range, in any case presiding over practically every segment: “From the entry one in which we want to offer a car for less than 25,000 euros up to the ID. Buzz and the new flagship ID. Aero “. More: the small electric will be launched in two versions, a sort of “classic” utilitarian and a sporty interpretation with crossover bodywork, while an SUV will also be built on the basis of the ID.3. The manager wants to further rationalize costs with the aim of increasing efficiency by 20%, trying to concentrate the production of “twin” models in the same plant: “The interests of the individual brands are not necessarily those of the group – he warns – and we must pass from the logic of ‘I’ to that of ‘we’ ”.


Thomas Schäfer, the new CEO of the Volkswagen brand

By 2025, Schäfer also wants to achieve an 8% return on sales on volume brands, an important margin for generalists. The US offensive foresees 7 billion euros of investments by 2027 and some new zero-emission SUVs, while in South America the manager plans to spend another billion. China remains strategic for Volkswagen and for the group: “We do not engage in politics and we work with countries and not against”, he makes clear. For this reason he does not marry the line of Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, who at the Paris Motor Show had called for measures not to favor the advent of the Dragon electricians in the Old Continent. “He denounced the asymmetry of the European and Chinese markets, but I don’t think that restrictions are the right way”, he specifies, dampening possible controversial interpretations. On Euro 7 he expects definitive decisions within a short time: “It makes no sense to burn a technology that will accompany us for a few more years. I hope that there are no forcing not only in terms of emissions, but not even in terms of safety devices or anything else. It would be counterproductive to make it unreachable ”, he concludes.

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