Volkswagen has held its annual media conference in Berlin and the company has used the event to reveal new details about its plans for electrification.
Speaking to a group of international reporters, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said “Nine new vehicles, three of which will be purely electric-powered, will be added to the Group’s electric portfolio of eight e-cars and plug-in hybrids” this year. The company didn’t go into specifics but one of the electric vehicles is the Audi E-Tron which was recently previewed at the Geneva Motor Show.
The three new electric vehicles are just the tip of the iceberg as Müller said the Volkswagen Group will introduce a new electric vehicle “virtually every month” starting in 2019. He went on to say this rapid roll out is how “we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years.”
Despite focusing electric vehicles, Volkswagen remains committed to diesel-powered models as the automaker says modern diesel engines are “part of the solution, not part of the problem.” As part of this initiative, VW will invest nearly €20 ($24.8) billion into their “conventional vehicle and drive portfolio” in 2018. The company also plans to invest more than €90 ($111.6) billion in conventional vehicles over the course of the next five years.
While conventional engines are here to stay, for awhile at least, Müller noted mobility will change in the future thanks to advances in autonomous driving technology. The company is preparing for this change as Müller confirmed the SEDRIC concepts are headed for production. The company declined to say when the model will arrive but Müller noted SEDRIC will be “leaving the Group for refinement into a series product at one of our brands.”
Besides the new product announcements, Volkswagen said they delivered 10.7 million vehicles last year and group sales revenue hit a new record of €230.7 ($286.1) billion. Even after deducting special items, Volkswagen CFO Frank Witter said the Volkswagen Group achieved its “best operating profit” ever.