German car giant Volkswagen said 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.
Chief executive Herbert Diess added: "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." The company 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. Volkswagen last month said it was confident of hitting financial targets despite a lower unit sales outlook, warning "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. Volkswagen has also been caught up in a series of legal cases ever since admitting four years ago that it illegally fitted eleven million diesel vehicles worldwide with software to make them appear less polluting.