The board in charge of the Volkswagen brand has announced a series of measures regarding its future products in the wake of the “dieselgate” scandal, which has dominated the automotive and mainstream press over the last month.
Herbert Diess, chief of the Volkswagen brand, announced overnight that the company will “reorient” its diesel motor plan, as well as concentrate on electric vehicles.
Volkswagen will be a “reorientation of the diesel strategy”, with the company switching “over to installing only diesel drives with SCR [selective catalytic reduction] and AdBlue technology in Europe and North America as soon as possible”.
The company will also step up its electrification efforts.
Firstly, it will develop a new EV toolkit, dubbed MEB, that can be used in the small vehicle segment. The toolkit will be used for both passenger and commercial vehicles, and is “designed for all body structures and vehicle types”. Range is estimated to be between 250 and 500 kilometres.
Volkswagen will also redefine the scope of the project, currently underway, to replace the range-topping Volkswagen Phaeton (above and top). The new sedan will be the “flagship for the brand’s profile over the next decade” and, as such, will be a pure EV with “long-distance capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design”.
The conglomerate will continue developing the MQB toolkit that’s being used on all new models with a transverse engine paired to either front- or all-wheel drive. Focus for MQB cars will shift towards plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid drivetrains, as well as “high-volume electric vehicles” with a range of up to 300km, and “ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts”.
To help pay for this renewed focus on electrified vehicles, as well as deal with the lawsuits, fines, compensation, lost sales and reputation damage caused by the “dieselgate” affair, Volkswagen will accelerate its “efficiency program” and slash its investments by one billion euros ($1.6 billion) per year.