Newsflash: Opel Insignia is op weg naar de uitgang


+++ CHINA ’s popular new energy vehicle startups saw their deliveries in April plummet, primarily due to the impact of Covid-19 on their supply chain, but analysts say the sector is expected to regain its momentum as the pandemic is gradually curbed. 4 of the startups each sold more than 10.000 vehicles in March, but none of them reached the same level in April, as production at suppliers in the Yangtze River Delta region, including Shanghai, was disrupted. The top 3 companies saw the deepest fall: Xpeng’s April sales saw a 41.6 percent slump from March to 9.002 units; Nio’s plummeted 49.2 percent from March to 5.074 units; and Li Auto’s deliveries in the same month nose-dived 62.2 percent to 4.167 units. These bleak sales numbers resulted in a change in the rankings by sales, with Leapmotor soaring to the top, with 9.087 units delivered in April, although that represented a 9.7 percent fall from March as well. Shen Yanan, president of Li Auto, said its plant and around 80 percent of its suppliers are in the pandemic-affected Yangtze River Delta region. “Some of them are in Shanghai and Kunshan, Jiangsu province, and they cannot ensure supplies, so we could not produce more vehicles when we ran out of our stock”, said Shen. He said this hit its deliveries in April, and some customers who had expected their vehicles to arrive that month had to wait longer. Nio said it suspended production for days at its plant in Hefei, in early April because of disruptions to the supply chain caused by the pandemic. Xpeng, based in Guangzhou, fared somewhat better than the others, but also admitted that it experienced “unprecedented difficulties”. The pandemic has strongly affected traditional carmakers as well. Great Wall Motors, China’s largest SUV and pickup maker, said insufficient supplies cut March production by 14.85 percent year-on-year. SAIC Motor, Chinese partner of Volkswagen and General Motors, said on Saturday that its production was slashed by 62.02 percent and sales cut by 60.03 percent in April, as most of its plants were in Shanghai. Retail sales of passenger vehicles in April were expected to stand at around 1.1 million, down 31.9 percent, said the China Passenger Car Association, based on its survey of major carmakers in the country. But the situation is slowly turning around as local governments are helping carmakers and suppliers in the affected region to resume operation and production. Zhang Hongtao, an official at the Shanghai commission of economy and information technology, said more than 80 percent of 666 companies that were allowed to resume their work had started operation by April 30. Of those companies, 231 are in the auto industry. Tesla and SAIC are gradually revving up production in their Shanghai plants. Suppliers including Continental are trying their best to ensure supplies to carmakers. In addition to production, the government is rolling out measures to stimulate vehicle sales. The State Council, China’s cabinet, has asked local authorities to ease purchases of vehicles, especially new energy ones, and to facilitate the building of charging facilities in the country. Local governments shall not put in place new measures that curb vehicle purchases and those who have done so shall gradually scale up license plate quotas, said the State Council. Zhang Xiang, a researcher at North China University of Technology in Beijing, said a larger quota of license plates will help drive up vehicle sales, especially in big cities. South China’s Guangdong province has said it is handing out another 40.000 license plates in Guangzhou and Shenzhen this year in addition to its existing quota. The 2 cities are on a list of Chinese metropolises that curb vehicle sales to control air pollution and traffic congestion. Others include Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin as well as Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. Analysts are confident in the prospects of the Chinese vehicle market, especially the NEV segment. Last year, a total of 3.5 million electric cars and plug-in hybrids were sold in the country, which has been the largest market for such vehicles since 2015. Earlier this year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimated that deliveries could reach 5 million this year. It has not yet revised this estimate. +++

+++ Sales of New Energy Vehicles in CHINA surged in April despite Covid-19 resurgences, data from an industry association showed. Last month, the retail sales of NEVs in China expanded 78.4 percent year-on-year to 282,000 units, according to the China Passenger Car Association. In the first 4 months of this year, the sales of NEVs in China totaled 1.35 million units, skyrocketing by 128.4 percent year-on-year, the data showed. The data showed the NEV market penetration rate stood at 27.1 percent in April, compared with 9.8 percent in the same month of last year. Data from the association also showed the retail sales of passenger cars in China declined 35.5 percent year-on-year to 1.04 million units last month. +++

+++ CHINA ’s vehicle production and sales plummeted in April, primarily due to Covid-19 outbreak-related disruptions to supply chains and showroom traffic, but the country’s leading industry association is optimistic about its 5 percent growth estimate for the year. Carmakers in the country produced 1.21 million vehicles last month, down 46.1 percent year-on-year and 46.2 percent from March, said the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Sales stood at 1.18 million units last month, marking a 47.6 percent slump year-on-year and a 47.1 percent fall from March. Chen Shihua, deputy secretary-general of the association, said it was the worst April in terms of both production and sales “in almost a decade” as the country’s auto industry and its supply chains “saw the severest challenge in history” last month. He said plant stoppages crippled output and disrupted logistics affected dealership stocks, and Covid-19 also forced some dealerships to close, thus dampening potential buyer enthusiasm as well. China’s largest carmaker SAIC Motor Corp’s production was slashed by 62.02 percent year-on-year in April and its sales fell 60.03 percent, as most of its plants were in hard-hit Shanghai. Shen Yanan, president of Nasdaq-listed Li Auto, said its plant and around 80 percent of its suppliers are in the pandemic-affected Yangtze River Delta region. “As they could not ensure supplies, we could not produce more vehicles when we ran out of our stock in April”, Shen said. Chen Yudong, president of German supplier Bosch’s China operations, said production at its plants in Shanghai as well as Jiangsu province’s Wuxi and Kunshan now fluctuates between 30 percent and 75 percent of pre-COVID level capacity. Bosch produces a wide range of products ranging from chips to powertrain components. Its clients include almost all carmakers in the country, ranging from Great Wall Motors to Geely. “The automotive supply chain is a really long one”, Chen said. He explained that Bosch and most of its big direct suppliers are on the list of companies that have been allowed to resume operations, but some sub-suppliers are temporarily shut down. “We are trying our best, but we probably cannot produce enough components for all of our customers in May”, Chen added. Caixin reported that global supplier Aptiv has halted production at its wire harness plant in Shanghai after one of its employees tested positive. The plant resumed production on April 29. Its clients include General Motors’ Chinese joint venture and Tesla’s Shanghai plant. But the CAAM said the auto industry is showing signs of recovery and carmakers are planning to scale up their production to make up for the losses in April and to launch new models to woo back car buyers. “We are confident that the auto sector will reach the year’s growth goal and thus contribute to China’s macroeconomic growth”, said Chen at the CAAM. The association estimated earlier this year that sales would grow to 27.5 million vehicles this year, up 5 percent from 2021. Great Wall Motors said it expects to see “noticeable improvements in May” as it is tackling difficulties in supplies and logistics. But China’s new energy vehicle segment continued its momentum despite the downturn in the overall market. A total of 312,000 NEVs were produced and 299,000 were sold last month, up 43.9 percent and 44.6 percent year-on-year, respectively, although they were down 33 percent and 38.3 percent from March. Chinese NEV maker BYD sold 105.475 units in April, up 136.5 percent year-on-year. But it has halted production at one of its plants in Changsha, Hunan province, because of suspected environmental pollution problems. The government is rolling out favorable policies to stimulate the auto market as well. The State Council, China’s Cabinet, has asked local authorities to ease purchases of vehicles, especially new energy ones, and to facilitate the building of charging facilities in the country. +++

+++ HONDA ’s fiscal 4th quarter profit slipped to almost half of what the Japanese automaker earned the previous year as it endured supply shortages and rising raw materials costs. Honda reported Friday that its profit was 124.8 billion yen ($967 million) in the January-March quarter, down 41% from 213.3 billion yen a year earlier. Quarterly sales edged 7% higher to 3.88 trillion yen ($30 billion). Honda said it is cutting costs but acknowledged continuing uncertainty over supplies and production for various reasons, such as Chinese lockdowns to battle coronavirus outbreaks. The semiconductor shortage has hurt sales, despite strong demand for Honda models, the company said. Honda was securing alternative suppliers, it said. “I deeply apologize for the problems we have caused for those customers graciously waiting for our cars”, Honda chief financial officer Kohei Takeuchi said from its headquarters. In the fiscal year that ended in March, Honda posted a 707 billion yen ($5.5 billion) profit, up 7.6% from 657 billion yen the year before. Sales totaled 14.6 trillion yen ($113 billion) sales, up 10.5% on year. Honda sold about 4 million vehicles for the fiscal year, down from 4.5 million vehicles. Vehicle sales dropped in Japan, the U.S. and the rest of Asia. Honda is projecting a profit of 710 billion yen ($5.5 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2023, little changed from the fiscal year that just ended, as risks from rising costs of raw materials continue. The problems affecting Honda have hurt all automakers. But Japan’s top automaker Toyota wrapped up a year of record earnings even though its profit for the January-March quarter declined compared to last year. Nissan returned to profitability for the first time in 3 years. Like the rest of the industry, Honda has grown bullish on electric vehicles. It recently announced an investment of 5 trillion yen ($39 billion) over the next decade in such research. That includes a collaboration with General Motors in North America to develop models going on sale in 2024. Honda said recent volatility in foreign exchange rates was unhelpful and it hoped for more stability. The yen is at a 2-decade low against the U.S. dollar. A cheap yen has historically worked as boon for exporters like Honda by boosting the value of their overseas earnings when converted into yen. But it also increases costs for imported components and materials. The potential impact on the global economy from the war in Ukraine also could hurt Honda’s sales, Takeuchi said. +++

+++ HONDA ’s N-Box topped the new car sales rankings in Japan in April for the 4th consecutive month, industry data showed. Sales of the minivehicle fell 7.7% from a year before to 15.450 units because of production cuts reflecting difficulties in parts procurement. Toyota’s Roomy compact minivan came second, with sales falling 8.7% to 11.108 units. Toyota’s Yaris ranked third, with sales of 10.045 units, down 49.7 %. Automobile sales in Japan have been dragged down by plant suspensions mainly due to semiconductor shortages and lockdown restrictions in Shanghai amid the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sales fell year on year for 8 of the 10 best-selling models in April. The rankings are based on data from the Japan Automobile Dealers Association and the Japan Light Motor Vehicle and Motorcycle Association. +++


+++ The HYUNDAI MOTOR GROUP is expected to announce next week that it’s building a massive electric vehicle plant near Savannah, Georgia, according to a U.S. official familiar with the anticipated announcement. Hyundai is finalizing those plans as president Joe Biden is set to travel to South Korea next week as part of his first visit to Asia during his presidency. The White House and Hyundai have been in discussions about the project, which is expected to bring thousands of new jobs to Georgia, and the formal announcement is likely during Biden’s scheduled May 20-21 visit to Seoul, according to the official who was not authorized to comment and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official stressed though that details of the formal announcement are still being worked out. The plant could grow to include 8.500 employees and would be built on a 2.200-acre (890-hectare) site that state and local governments own near the hamlet of Ellabell, Georgia, said 2 people familiar with Georgia’s talks with Hyundai. The location’s about 40 kilometers inland from Savannah. The second person said Hyundai would invest more than $7 billion and could also build some cars powered by gasoline engines at the site, with an announcement in Georgia set for May 20. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the confidential talks. It would be the second huge electric vehicle plant announced in Georgia in less than a year. Rivian in December announced it would build a $5 billion, 7.500-job electric truck plant about 70 kilometers east of Atlanta. “The Hyundai Motor Group is committed to accelerating electrification in the U.S.”, said spokesperson Michelle Tinson. “We will announce the location of our new US EV plant soon”. Biden is heading to South Korea and Japan for talks with those 2 countries’ leaders. He also will meet during that trip with leaders from the Indo-Pacific strategic alliance with the U.S. known as the Quad: Australia, India and Japan. South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office earlier this week, pledged during his campaign to strengthen U.S.-South Korea ties. U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock, a Georgia Democrat, met with Kia officials. “I tell business leaders regularly: Georgia is open for business”, Warnock said, not mentioning the possibility of the plant. The announcement would come in the closing days before Georgia’s May 24 primary elections and could be a last-minute boost to Governor Brian Kemp. The Republican incumbent leads in polls in his effort to hold off a challenge from former U.S. senator David Perdue and others in the GOP primary. Perdue has repeatedly attacked the Rivian deal, in which Georgia and local governments have pledged $1.5 billion of incentives and tax breaks, saying the state is transferring money to liberal financiers and should have consulted with local residents who oppose the plant because it threatens their rural quality of life. The South Korean automaker would add a third American assembly plant to the Hyundai factory in Montgomery, Alabama, and a Kia factory in West Point, Georgia. It’s unclear what models would be assembled at the new Georgia plant. Hyundai announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in the United States by 2025 to produce electric vehicles, upgrade plants and develop technology. The company plans to start building hybrid and electric vehicles at its Montgomery plant by this fall, investing $300 million. Kemp has cultivated ties to the Korean automaker, part of a push to deliver jobs to parts of Georgia outside Atlanta and to build Georgia’s position in the electric vehicle industry. South Korean conglomerate SK Group is building a $2.6 billion complex to make batteries for electric vehicles in Commerce, northeast of Atlanta. “There was a reason I made my first economic development trip to South Korea and visited with great companies like Kia and Hyundai and a lot of others. We’ve got a great partnership with them and a lot of other South Korean companies, and we have for a long time”, Kemp said. The deal would solidify Georgia’s efforts to capture a big piece of the electric vehicle industry. Pat Wilson, Georgia’s economic development commissioner, said in December after Georgia landed Rivian that the industry transition is a “seed field of opportunity” for Georgia. “Looking forward, I just see a huge amount of opportunity for us”, Wilson said, Georgia bought the site, which includes more than 2.200 acres (890 hectares) for $61 million last July, with Bryan and Chatham counties each kicking in $9 million. +++

+++ Halfway through JAPAN ’s reporting season, companies are mostly hitting their marks, but some high-profile cautious outlooks from blue chips like Toyota risk sapping optimism for the rest of the financial year. Almost 60% of firms have beaten earnings estimates in the latest quarterly reports, with technology and consumer discretionary firms doing best and health care and financial companies lagging. But some investors are worried the earnings recovery could soon unravel as companies such as Toyota struggle to deal with high raw material costs and supply disruptions. The world’s biggest automaker forecasts a 20% decline in operating profit for the current fiscal year despite posting robust annual car sales, citing an “unprecedented” rise in costs for logistics and materials. That even Toyota, known for its meticulous cost-cutting, sees higher expenses far outweighing the benefits of a cheaper yen spells trouble for many other Japanese manufacturers. “Toyota’s weak guidance will have quite a big impact on the market as a whole”, said Masayuki Kubota, chief strategist at Rakuten Securities. “This suggests Japanese manufacturing as a whole is likely to be in a tough situation when it comes to annual guidance”. Robot manufacturer Fanuc was another closely-watched Japanese bellwether that disappointed investors with its earnings outlook this season. Vulnerable position Japan’s stocks look vulnerable to a negative shift in sentiment, having outperformed global peers so far this year. The Topix Index has fallen just 8%, compared with a more than 18% slump in the MSCI AC World ex-Japan Index. On top of increased costs, Japan’s corporates are dealing with a sluggish domestic economy and increasing risks to growth in key markets, the U.S. and China. And while a weak yen could be seen as a positive for exporters, this time it is aggravating the impact of surging commodity prices, hitting some businesses and consumers much harder than before. “A cheaper yen should benefit some industries linked to exports but they are facing headwinds due to the rise in commodity prices, while domestic-demand oriented companies are also suffering from import inflation”, said Hiroshi Watanabe, senior economist at Sony Financial Group. The gap between producer and consumer inflation in Japan has hit the highest since 1980, suggesting increased pressure on profit margins for companies that have traditionally balked at pushing through price rises. But analysts have yet to downgrade their earnings forecasts, which are at the highest in at least 17 years. Still, one cohort likely to see a strong profit recovery this financial year is domestic-demand oriented firms even as they face higher import costs, given the prospect of a gradual reopening in the economy later this year. Many tourism-related companies, such as train operators and airlines, are forecasting their best year since the pandemic, with border restrictions due to ease. +++

+++ 6 of JAPAN ’s 7 major automakers fared well on their consolidated bottom lines in fiscal 2021, benefiting from the yen’s weakening, according to earnings reports. Industry leader Toyota reported a record net profit of ¥2.85 trillion in the year to March, up 26.9% from the preceding year. Net profit grew 7.6% to ¥707 billion at Honda and 9.5% to ¥160.3 billion at Suzuki. Meanwhile, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi returned to the black, reporting net profits of ¥215.5 billion, ¥81.5 billion and ¥74 billion, respectively. The automobile industry struggled on the sales front due to production cuts blamed on shortages of semiconductors and difficulties procuring other components, while being aided by decreases in the payments of sales rebates to auto dealers amid tight vehicle supplies and rises in vehicle prices. Subaru saw its fiscal 2021 net profit fall 8.5% to ¥70 billion. For fiscal 2022, higher prices of materials such as steel and precious metals are pressuring the industry, with the negative factors seen canceling out the positive effects of the weaker yen. “We are afraid that the situation (in fiscal 2022) is more severe and more uncertain than in the previous year”, Mazda president Akira Marumoto said. For the year to March 2023, Toyota expects to post a 20.7% fall in group net profit. Net profit is forecast to decline 30.4% at Nissan, 15.8% at Suzuki and 1.9% at Mazda. Meanwhile, net profit is seen growing 0.4% at Honda, 1.3% at Mitsubishi and 2-fold at Subaru. +++

+++ NISSAN reported a positive full-year net profit for the first time in 3 years, citing cost-saving efforts and a stronger US market, but issued cautious forecasts. The Japanese auto giant was on a rollercoaster even before the disruption caused by the pandemic and, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine. It had battled slowing demand and the fallout from the arrest of its former chief Carlos Ghosn and is currently implementing a plan involving slashing models, cutting costs and restructuring operations. It cited some of those efforts in reporting an annual net profit of 215.5 billion yen ($1.67 billion; its first net profit since fiscal year 2018-19) which surpassed its forecast of 205 billion yen. But looking ahead, it warned of a market environment “more severe than in fiscal year 2021, due to semiconductor supply shortages, higher raw material prices and logistics costs, the crisis in Ukraine as well as the impact of lockdowns on parts supplies in China”. It projects a net profit for the current fiscal year of 150 billion yen, following the conservative lead of other automakers facing headwinds caused by supply disruption. “It is clear that our industry and therefore our performance was impacted by intensifying headwinds in the last fiscal year”, said chief operating officer Ashwani Gupta. “These challenges, magnified in the 4th quarter with rising energy prices, continued supply chain shortages and ongoing Covid disruptions”, he said. “While Nissan has put in place agile business continuity plans, these continuous changes in the market are creating unprecedented uncertainty”. Its bottom line was helped by a recovery in demand and the effects of a weaker yen, which has hit 20-year lows against the dollar in recent months. A weaker yen inflates the value of profits Nissan earns with overseas sales of its vehicles, and is a factor helping prop up earnings for many Japanese automakers as they battle supply chain disruption. Nissan announced it would pay a dividend for the first time in 3 years, reflecting its positive results. Even before the global crisis, the firm was struggling with increasing sales costs and the saga surrounding its former chief Ghosn. The one-time auto tycoon was detained in Japan in 2018, accused of financial misconduct charges that he denies, but jumped bail and fled to Lebanon the following year. A Tokyo court in March handed a 6-month suspended sentence to former Nissan executive Greg Kelly over allegations that he helped his boss attempt to conceal income. In April, French authorities issued an international arrest warrant for Ghosn, who has lived in Lebanon since his daring getaway from Japan in 2019, on allegations including corruption, misuse of company assets and money laundering. Like other automakers, Nissan has been working to bolster its electrification mix, with a goal of having more than 40 percent of its models be electric by 2026. Gupta said the firm was also ramping up battery development, including developing solid state batteries in-house. +++

+++ SUBARU plans to invest around ¥250 billion in electric-vehicle battery capacity over the next 5 years and will add an EV production line to its main factory in Gunma Prefecture in Japan that should begin producing cars from 2027, the automaker said. The new line will involve an investment of around ¥100 billion. “We’ve been getting a lot more questions from retailers in the U.S. about EVs over the past year”, Subaru CEO Tomomi Nakamura said at a briefing. “It’s crucial to look closely at how consumers’ values are changing”. Subaru, which makes almost 70% of its sales in the U.S., aims to have 40% of new global car sales be electric by 2030. The automaker has started receiving orders for its Solterra model, its first all-electric SUV developed with Toyota. Nakamura said last year that the company plans to “use the alliance to build up technology and knowhow”. Japanese automakers have lagged behind global peers in rolling out electric cars, and the country’s EV penetration rate is barely 1%. Now a catch up game of sorts is under way with Honda planning to spend ¥5 trillion over the next decade to make cleaner cars and Toyota investing $624 million to make electric vehicle components in India. Subaru also reported full-year results on Thursday and forecast operating income for the current fiscal year that will end in March 2023 of ¥200 billion, slightly better than analyst estimates of ¥196 billion. 4th-quarter operating profit came in at ¥13.4 billion, up from ¥4.3 billion a year ago but down from the third quarter’s ¥22.8 billion. The automaker “will likely face risks such as a resurgence of Covid-19 outbreaks, output cuts due to parts shortages, higher input costs and ramifications of the Russia-Ukraine war” this fiscal year. +++

+++ TOYOTA plans to invest 48 billion Indian rupees ($624 million) to make electric vehicle components in India, as the Japanese carmaker works toward carbon neutrality by 2050. Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts signed a memorandum of understanding with the southern state of Karnataka to invest 41 billion Indian rupees, the group said in a statement Saturday. The rest will come from Toyota Industries Engine India. Toyota is aligning its own green targets with India’s ambitions of becoming a manufacturing hub though the switch to clean transport in the South Asian nation is slower than other countries such as China and the U.S. Expensive price tags, lack of options in electric models and insufficient charging stations have led to sluggish adoption of battery vehicles in India. “From a direct employment point of view, we are looking at around 3.500 new jobs”, Toyota Kirloskar executive vice president Vikram Gulati told in an interview. “As the supply chain system builds, we expect much more to come in later”. He added that the company would be moving toward a new area of technology (electrified powertrain parts) with production set to start in the “very near-term”. Indian automakers could generate $20 billion in revenue from electric vehicles between now and fiscal year 2026, according to forecast by Crisil. By 2040, 53% of new automobile sales in India will be electric, compared with 77% in China. +++

+++ The VAUXHALL Insignia is no longer on sale in the United Kingdom, and the brand has no immediate plans to launch a replacement. “The Insignia is stopping for Vauxhall”, UK managing director Paul Willcox told. “We will fulfil orders, but there is no plan in the short-term to replace it straight away. There is a gap for us, with no plans to fill for now”. The Insignia has been already taken off Vauxhall’s website as a model within its current range, and its departure follows that of the Ford Mondeo. The demise of the pair, once among the best-sellers in the UK, shows the near total collapse of the D-segment in the UK car market, such models having been usurped by SUVs and crossovers almost to extinction. Opel will replace the Insignia in around 2024/25, as a more rakish and premium electrified crossover model that will be higher-riding than today’s model but not a full-blown SUV. It is likely that this model would come to the UK as a Vauxhall, something backed up by Willcox’s comment that its departure was a short-term one with a gap in the range for now. Whether this new model would retain the Insignia name or adopt an entirely new name to reflect its new positioning remains to be seen. Vauxhall will offer an electrified version of every model in its range by 2024, and will be fully electric by 2028. A Vauxhall statement on the Insignia’s departure from UK price lists read: “In line with UK market trends, and a focus on our move to electrification, Vauxhall has decided to close customer ordering for the Insignia model with immediate effect. “Production will continue until the Autumn after all existing orders have been fulfilled. New electrified models will enter the Vauxhall line-up in due course as we move to our commitment to be a solely electric brand from 2028”. +++

+++ The VOLKSWAGEN GROUP China plans to establish a new digital sales and services company in Hefei, capital of East China’s Anhui province, the carmaker announced. The new company is expected to complete the group’s entire value chain in terms of manufacturing, R&D, testing, sales and marketing, as well as customer services, according to the group. “This new digital sales and services company is an exciting chapter in the group’s investment in e-mobility and another milestone in our partnership with Anhui province. As we strive to become the market leader in e-mobility, our customers can expect to enjoy the latest Volkswagen Anhui-produced new energy vehicle models through this company in the not-so-distant future”, said Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China. With an office area of about 10,000 square meters, the new company will form an integral link in the value chain of the group’s joint venture, Volkswagen Anhui. Volkswagen Anhui focuses on NEV R&D and manufacturing based on the group’s renowned modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform. The new digital sales and services company will also explore novel business models such as innovative data-driven services tailored to customers’ e-mobility requirements. Currently, the group’s third Volkswagen electric vehicle plant in China is under construction in Anhui province. The construction is scheduled to be completed by mid-2022, with the first NEV model expected to go into mass production in the second half of 2023. The plant, jointly owned by Volkswagen and Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group, is designed with an annual production capacity of 300,000 electric vehicles. +++


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