Volkswagen Plan €60bn Investment In Future Cars By 2024

(FILES) This file photo taken on June 1, 2018 shows Volkswagen cars waiting to be shipped at the harbour in Bremerhaven, northern Germany.
Patrik STOLLARZ / AFP

 

German car giant Volkswagen said Friday it would plough 60 billion euros ($66 billion) by 2024 into its switch to electric, hybrid and connected vehicles, as automakers around the world rev up electrification plans.

The sum is an increase of 16 billion euros over previously-announced investments.

In a plan approved by its supervisory board, VW also said it would introduce up to 75 all-electric models and around 60 hybrid vehicles over the next decade, compared with a total of 70 across both types that were already planned.

VW is “focusing our investments on the future of mobility,” chairman Dieter Poetsch said in a statement.

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“Without electric mobility, we won’t be able to win the battle against climate change,” added chief executive Herbert Diess.

The group said it was planning to sell 26 million all-electric vehicles by 2029 as well as around six million hybrid vehicles by that time, hoping they will help hit new European carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions targets.

On top of that should come around six million hybrids.

MEB Baby

From next year, carmakers must achieve average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 95 grammes per kilometre across newly-sold vehicles in the European Union, on pain of hefty fines.

“We will meet the strictest European limits from 2020,” Diess said.

VW has made a bigger bet than competitors on all-electric cars, designing a battery-powered platform known as “MEB” that will form the basis for a whole range of vehicles, beginning with the mass-market “ID.3”.

Of the 29 million electric vehicle sales VW is targeting over the coming decade, 20 million will be from MEB-based vehicles.

VW’s strategy apes Californian electric pioneer Tesla, which announced this week it plans its first European factory for a site just outside Berlin.

At other traditional manufacturers, platforms — which include the chassis and various invisible components that are shared across different models — are set to remain flexible for different fuel options.

Meanwhile, VW will have to spend big to transform existing factories to produce electric cars — five in Germany, one in the US, one in the Czech Republic and two in China.

The group’s electric push was given fresh momentum as it attempted to turn the page on its “dieselgate” scandal, which cost it dear in both cash and reputational harm.

Legal cases grind on over VW’s admission four years ago that it illegally fitted 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software to make them appear less polluting.

Challenging Market

On top of the electric push, CEO Diess said that “in light of the worsening economic situation, we are also working on increasing our productivity, our efficiency and our cost base so as to secure meeting our targets.”

VW last month said it was confident of hitting financial targets despite a lower unit sales outlook, warning that “vehicle markets will contract faster than previously anticipated in many regions”.

A global growth slowdown triggered by trade wars and Brexit uncertainty has hit the car industry particularly hard, as have the mammoth costs associated with switching to electric car production.

In recent months, the company has announced between 5,000 and 7,000 job cuts at the VW brand alone.

Meanwhile, bosses also turned their attention Friday to struggling high-end subsidiary Audi, which reported falling sales, revenues and operating profits over the first nine months of 2019.

From April, former BMW purchasing chief and engineer Markus Duesmann will head the manufacturer with the four-ring logo, also joining the group-wide executive board.

Audi suffered more than other German manufacturers from the introduction last year of the new WLTP emissions testing standards in the European Union, which created bottlenecks in production.

It has also ramped up spending on new technologies, including battery-electric and hybrid vehicles, connectivity and autonomous driving.

AFP

Volkswagen Profits Soar Despite Diesel Scandal

In this file photo taken on March 14, 2017,  German judges on October 24, 2018, ordered Volkswagen’s largest shareholder, holding company Porsche SE, to pay damages to some of its own investors over its handling of the car giant’s “dieselgate” emissions scandal.
Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

German car giant Volkswagen reported soaring profits on Thursday for the third quarter free of massive payouts for diesel emissions cheating but the results were still weighed down by new pollution tests.

Net profit at the Wolfsburg-based group more than doubled year-on-year between July and September, to 2.76 billion euros ($3.14 billion) — but still fell short of analysts’ expectations.

In the third quarter of 2017, the bottom line was slashed to 1.07 billion euros by one-off costs of 2.6 billion euros, as a US recall of cars with diesel engines configured to cheat regulatory emissions tests proved more complicated than expected.

Volkswagen remains mired in legal woes over the “dieselgate” scandal first revealed in 2015, with open investigations against former executives, and investors and car owners beating a path to court to claim damages.

But it was the new emissions tests known as WLTP — introduced after the trickery affecting 11 million vehicles worldwide was uncovered — that weighed on this year’s third quarter.

While revenues at VW grew 0.9 percent year-on-year to 55.2 billion euros, operating, or underlying profit before special items fell 18.6 percent, to 3.51 billion.

The group highlighted operating profit over the first nine months was “on par” with last year’s figure, saying that “strong development in the first half of the year and during the summer months was able to compensate for September’s decline in deliveries, which was mainly caused by the WLTP transition.”

Other carmakers have also complained of a bottleneck caused by the new tests, which are designed to better reflect cars’ output of harmful gases like nitrogen oxides (NOx) in real on-road driving conditions.

Looking ahead to the full year, VW confirmed its forecast of unit sales slightly higher than in 2017, with revenues “intended to grow by as much as five percent” compared with the 230.7 billion euros booked last year.

AFP

Volkswagen To End Production Of Iconic ‘Beetle’ Cars In 2019

Vintage Volkswagen Beetle cars are parked in a row during a rally held as part of the 23rd anniversary of “World Wide VW Beetle Day”, in Bangalore on June 24, 2018. 
MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP

 

Volkswagen announced on Thursday it would end production of its iconic “Beetle” cars in 2019 after adding a pair of final editions of the insect-inspired vehicles.

The curvy-topped sedans, which shook off Nazi origins to become a global auto phenomenon, are being sidelined as Volkswagen emphasises electric cars and larger family-oriented vehicles.

But company officials, still trying to completely turn the page after 2015’s costly “dieselgate” scandal, opened the door to reviving the model at some point, alluding to the company’s 2017 decision to unveil a revamped Volkswagen Bus as a possible template.

“As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the US and ramp up our electrification strategy…there are no immediate plans to replace it,” Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America said in a statement.

“But, I would also say, never say never,” he added.

“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” Woebcken said.

Volkswagen plans to offer the two final edition models in both coupe and convertible styles. The cars will include nods to earlier versions and be priced at $23,045 and up, the company said.

’60s icon

The vehicle’s history goes back to the Nazi era, having first been developed by Ferdinand Porsche with support from Adolf Hitler, who in 1937 formed the state-run Volkswagenwerk, or “The People’s Car Company.” After the war, the Allied countries eventually made Volkswagen a priority in an effort to revive the German auto industry.

The sedans made their US debut in the 1950s, but sales were weak, in part owing to the company’s Nazi origins.

The advertising agency Doyle Dane Bernback in 1959 rechristened the car the “Beetle,” and began touting the vehicle’s small size as an advantage to consumers, according to the History Channel.

The car attained further popularity with the 1968 Disney movie “The Love Bug,” the story of a racing Volkswagen with a mind of its own.

Andy Warhol did prints featuring the car and a Beetle was also the most prominent car in the background of “Abbey Road,” the final Beatles album to be recorded.

US sales ceased in 1979, but the vehicle continued to be produced in Mexico and Brazil, according to Car and Driver. VW revived the “New Beetle” in the United States 1997.

But sales of the Beetle slipped 3.2 percent to 15,667 in 2017 in the United States, a fraction of the sales for the Jetta and Passat sedans.

AFP Photo

 

At the Detroit Auto Show in January, the German automaker unveiled a revamped version of the Jetta and also touted the Atlas, a new mid-sized SUV.

VW continues to deal with fallout from the “dieselgate” scandal that broke in September 2015.

The company, having already paid out costly government settlements, is fighting billions of dollars in additional claims lodged by shareholders who saw their stock plummet in value after authorities cracked down on VW over the installation of so-called “defeat devices” into 11 million cars worldwide to fool regulatory emissions tests.

AFP

Police Arrest 202 Crime Suspects In Niger State

PoliceThe Niger State Police Command says it has arrested 202 suspects that were involved in various major crimes in the state and diligently being prosecuted in court.

The Commissioner of Police in Niger State, Abubakar Marafa, who made the disclosure at a press briefing on Wednesday in Minna, said that the suspects included nine notorious armed robbers.

He added that other suspected criminals paraded were nine armed bandits, kidnappers and six cattle rustlers, all within the last one month.

Marafa further told reporters that during the last concluded Local Government elections, no fewer than 100 suspects were apprehended for electoral offenses attributed to the command proactive and preventive measures put in place for a peaceful conduct of the election.

He lamented that many arms, 134 rounds of live ammunition, 90 cattle, 10 sheep, seven motorcycles and three cars of Peugeot 405, Opel and Volkswagen with registration numbers CX 620 RBC, BE 375 APP and LFA 763 XA were recovered from the suspected criminals.

The Police Commissioner listed the command constraints to include inadequate logistics, paucity of funds and insufficient manpower.

He urged the governments at every level and individuals to assist the Police in the provision of communication gadgets to ease communication, especially in times of emergency.

Mr Marafa also applauded  Police officers for the stride so far recorded while assuring them of adequate welfare to enable them carry out their assignment diligently.

He similarly appealed to the general public to always give the Police prompt information, assuring them that it would be treated confidentially.

EU Adopts Tougher Measure For New Model Cars

cars- EUThe European Union (EU) is adopting a tougher emissions tests for new models of cars.

It said that this would better reflect ordinary driving conditions, as many cars on the road emit up to four times more pollutants than the technical limit.

The new rule is expected to start from 2017, but critics say the tests are not strict enough, as car makers would still be allowed to exceed emission limits.

The move comes as car giants Volkswagen faces a scandal over falsifying tests.

Diesel vehicles are a major source of nitrogen dioxide, which has been linked to respiratory diseases and premature death.

Robbie Keane Beats Obafemi Martins To MLS MVP Award

Obafemi MartinsRepublic of Ireland striker, Robbie Keane, has been named Major League Soccer 2014 Volkswagen Most Valuable Player after he had a brilliant season in which he led LA Galaxy to the MLS cup final.

Keane 34, had a fantastic season and scored 19 goals and gave 14 assists contributing to half of his team’s 69 goals making them the league’s most potent club moving forward

The former Tottenham striker is used to success in LA. Since his arrival in 2011 he has won two titles with the Galaxy – and could win a third as LA Galaxy prepare for the cup final against Revolution.

He is the third LA Galaxy player to be named MLS MVP after Carlos Ruiz in 2002 and Landon Donovan in 2009.

Lee Nguyen of New England Revolution and the Seattle Sounders and Nigeria’s Obafemi Martins were the other finalists for the award.

DC United’s Bill Hamid was named goalkeeper of the season ahead of Nick Rimando, the choice of many MLS fans. Pedro Morales of the Vancouver Whitecaps was named newcomer of the year.

According to Lagalaxy.com, Robbie Keane has scored 53 goals and added 35 assists in 84 MLS appearances, with 15 game-winning goals and assists apiece. In postseason matches, he has scored eight times and added six assists in just 16 appearances while leading the Galaxy to MLS Cup titles in 2011 and 2012. He has been named to the MLS Best XI three consecutive times and an MLS All-Star for two straight seasons.

NLC VP Berates FG Over Reliance On Oil

The Vice President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Issa Aremu, has stressed the need for the Federal Government not to depend heavily on oil for its budgetary plans and revenue generation.

At a news conference in Kaduna to review the activities of the government for 2013, Aremu expressed sadness that the country still relies heavily on oil as the mainstay of the economy, 53 years after her independence.

He said that it was high time the country diversified into other sectors such as automobile, food and beverages in order to sustain the economy.

“The point I want to raise is that 53 years after independence, it is sad that we still rely on crude oil. The fundamental of our budget still rely on one source of revenue which is oil. I think I want to say next year the Federal Government should redouble its effort to make sure we add value through manufacturing sector. The only way to do so is for us to do as much as possible to revive the industries, not just the textiles but the automobile, food and beverages.

“There is a report that came out last week in a business newspaper that close to 130 companies have closed down in Nigeria. So, while our government is talking of direct foreign investment coming to Nigeria, we should make the point that the domestic investment is actually dying, and you cannot create jobs if there are no industries. In fact, for us to solve the problem of unemployment is for us to add value to our natural resources and raw materials and process them into manufactured products.

“This is where I think government has taken a bold decision on the new automotive policy which is to restrict the wholesale importation of imported second hand vehicles. We hope this will give an incentive for domestic assembly plants to return to business such as Peugeot, Volkswagen, ANAMCO in Anambra”, he said.

He called on the Federal Government to redouble its effort in its industrialisation policies, adding that the only way forward is for government to revive the industries that have closed down for years.