VW to take on Tesla X in China from 2021 with electric SUV
(Changes dateline to April 15, adds detail on Daimler's new
By Edward Taylor
SHANGHAI, April 15 (Reuters) - Volkswagen plans
to build a fully electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) for China
from 2021, taking on the Chinese market leader Tesla's
Model X as the German carmaker ramps up production of zero
The planned new SUV is the latest move in Volkswagen's
aggressive growth strategy in China, where electric cars are
given preferential treatment by authorities.
VW said its ID ROOMZZ, which it presented in Shanghai on
Sunday, will have three rows of seats and an operating range of
up to 450 kms. The concept car is capable of a "level 4
autonomous driving", VW said.
VW Chief Executive Herbert Diess said the ID ROOMZ will be
the flagship electric car to be launched by Volkswagen in China.
"We plan to produce more than 22 million electric cars in
the next 10 years," Diess said, adding that around half of VW’s
engineers were working on products destined for China.
Diess said the ID ROOMZ would eventually be rolled out to
To enhance the VW Group's research and development
capabilities, Volkswagen and its premium brand Audi
will combine their R&D operations in China.
VW brand’s head of e-mobility Thomas Ulbrich said the
carmaker will start ramping up production of 33 electric cars by
mid-2023, using VW Group’s modular electric car (MEB) platform
to build electric cars for the Skoda, Seat, Audi and VW brands.
Ulbrich said VW Group is converting 16 factories worldwide
to enable mass production of electric vehicles, of which eight
plants will be making VW branded cars.
Separately, Volkswagen rival Daimler AG's Chief
Executive Dieter Zetsche at an event in Shanghai on Monday
unveiled what he called a concept for a compact Mercedes GLB,
saying the automaker plans to add the new SUV to its lineup
later this year.
Zetsche promised the unveiling of a production version of
the GLB with seating for seven by this summer.
The announcement from Zetsche comes as Mercedes has declared
2019 the "year of the SUV", reflecting the growing popularity of
such vehicles in the world's largest car market.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Joseph White in Shanghai;
Editing by Alexander Smith)
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