Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said Tuesday that the German automaker's lineup of electric vehicles across its brands — including Porsche and Audi — could more than double its market share in the U.S. to 10 percent.
Speaking with reporters and analysts after laying out a broad 10-year strategy for the giant German automaker that it is calling New Auto, Diess said the company believed EVs would be at parity with internal combustion engine-powered vehicles globally by 2030. In the U.S., he said, the ID4 electric compact crossover is nearly sold out for this year, and he predicted the retro-styled Microbus concept, set to debut in the U.S. in 2023 and now called the ID Buzz, would prove popular with consumers.
"In an electrified world, we need emotional products" such as the evocatively styled ID Buzz, Diess said. "It really adds something for the brand that so many of our competitors don't have."
Diess said the brand is currently "reworking" exactly which EVs it will offer in the U.S. beyond the ID4 and ID Buzz, but he said that with contributions from Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini, sales would lift the group's U.S. market share.
"We are very happy with the development in the U.S. We are of course suffering constraints with chip supply. But this is not where we want to stay," Diess said. "We are running over 20 percent [market share] in China and 20 percent in Europe, so this is our aspiration in the U.S., for a higher market share as well."
During the presentation, executives revealed that VW planned to renew its modular ICE-powered platform, called MQB, for another life cycle as it projects sales of fossil fuel-powered vehicles to decline as much as 20 percent worldwide by 2030.
Executives also more fully detailed plans to merge VW's two existing EV platforms, known by their acronyms MEB and PPE, into a single Scalable Systems Platform, or SSP. The transformation will begin with a project underway at premium brand Audi called Artemis and another for its mass-market brands underway at VW dubbed Trinity.
The company said that it would be possible in the future to "build models from all brands and segments on the SSP — more than 40 million group cars throughout its life cycle."
The single battery-electric vehicle platform will improve scale and reduce complexity across the group's brands, including those that operate in the U.S. Audi will begin using SSP modules beginning in 2025 in its Artemis project vehicle, while VW would begin to use the modules a year later on its Trinity project.
"If we had thought earlier, we would have combined MEB and PPE, but I think now is the time to combine those," Diess said.
In terms of batteries, the company said it has developed what it is calling a "unified cell" that will be used to power a majority of the vehicles it produces globally. Those cells will debut in Europe in 2023.
Diess also confirmed that the company planned to introduce a Level 4 autonomous driving-capable vehicle by 2026 in Europe with the Artemis project, which would be available later in the U.S. Another of VW's European subsidiaries is set to begin a pilot program in Hamburg, Germany, with a commercial driverless ride-sharing system in 2023 that it plans to roll out further across Europe later in the decade.
Asked about how it plans to overtake Tesla in areas where the U.S. company already has a wide lead, Diess said VW's global scale and its brands give it the opportunity.
"We are already deeply industrialized. I think it's an advantage to have different brands ... we can address a much wider range of customers," Diess said. "Scale wise, we should have advantages over Tesla for sure. This industry is also really consolidating toward very comparable solutions. The [electric motors] are becoming similar, the concepts are becoming similar. Now we are in second position, but now until 2025, we should have a good chance to overtake."