Volkswagen aims to double electric car sales in China this year after missing targets

BEIJING, Jan.11 (Reuters) – Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) has said it will likely double sales of its ID battery electric vehicles in China this year and aims to do even better, but the automaker could be crippled by a shortage of semiconductors.

The ID series, which Volkswagen produces in its Chinese joint ventures with SAIC Motor (600104.SS) and FAW Group, is the backbone of its ambitions for electric vehicles in China, the world’s largest automotive market.

The German automaker sold 70,625 of its ID electric vehicles in China last year, missing its target of selling 80,000 to 100,000 cars, with production also affected by regional outbreaks of COVID-19 in addition to the problems related to fleas.

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Volkswagen chief China chief Stephan Wollenstein told a briefing in Beijing that the automaker would still like to double its original plan, but that target “is currently not guaranteed by the semiconductor supplies it is making. we are currently seeing “.

He added, however, that it was “positive enough that we will see a doubling of actual sales”.

The Volkswagen Group, which owns other brands such as Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche with its own brand, sold 3.3 million cars in China last year, down 14%, Wollenstein said.

The company aims to increase that number by around 15% or around 500,000 units this year, although he said that also depends on the chip supply situation.

The shortage of chips, used in everything from brake sensors and power steering to entertainment systems, has led automakers around the world to cut or halt production, pushing up prices for new vehicles and vehicles. opportunity in a context of strong consumer demand.

While the Chinese electric vehicle market is experiencing very strong growth, most of the foreign automakers have fallen behind their Chinese counterparts in designing attractive smart cars.

The market is now dominated by Chinese brands, led by BYD (002594.SZ) and Wuling – part of the GM group but a local brand. While Tesla ranks # 3, it is the only foreign brand in the top 10.

“You don’t see Volkswagen. Players like Volkswagen, GM (GM.N) and Toyota (7203.T) have fallen far behind the Chinese race for intelligent electric vehicles, ”said Bill Russo, director of the consultancy firm Automobility in Shanghai.

According to Russo, about 15% of all passenger cars bought in China last year through November were either battery-electric cars or plug-in electric hybrids. In November alone, electric car sales accounted for 21% of total passenger car sales in China.

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Reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu; Written by Brenda Goh; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

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