A few months ago, the word was that Volkswagen’s electric car program was in deep, deep trouble in China. The newly released ID.4 SUV only sold 1,500 units in the first month after it was introduced to Chinese customers. According to an Inside EVs article in August, a market research firm sent mystery shoppers to VW, Nio, and Tesla showrooms and discovered the sales reps at the VW locations were dressed like old fuddy-duddies in suits and ties, while the staff at the Nio and Tesla stores were dressed more casually, appeared younger, and were more energetic.
Here’s another possible explanation. The number 4 when translated into Mandarin sounds similar to the word for death. Well, that’s a bummer for sure. That theory sounds about as credible as the one about why the Chevy Nova never sold well in Spanish speaking countries, because “no va” is how you say “no go” in Spanish. Make of those theories what you will.
But not to worry, EV fans. Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess took to Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Fakebook) to enthuse over the latest sales numbers for ID. branded cars in China. According to China EV Post, Diess said, “The ID. family continues its steady growth momentum in the China market. In October, ID. models sold nearly 13,000 units in a single month, surpassing domestic competitors including NIO, XPeng, and Li Auto. The Volkswagen brand ranked third in October sales of new energy vehicles.”
Want to guess who the two elephants in the room are? Both Tesla and BYD are averaging more than 20,000 EV sales a month. BYD can claim more than 40,000 sales a month if you include plug-in hybrid models, according to Inside EVs.
Volkswagen currently sells the ID.4 CROZZ, ID.6 CROZZ (an SUV with third row seating) through is joint venture with FAW and the ID.3, ID.4 X, and the ID.6 X through its joint venture with SAIC. Soon it will begin selling other MEB-based electric cars such as the Audi Q5 e-tron, which is a corporate cousin to the ID.6. Its sales in China are showing a steady increase month after month, which is really good news for Volkswagen, which has invested heavily in the Chinese market.
It is unusual for one company to mention its competitors in China, but Diess obviously wants to shake things up in that country. Maybe he told his sales staff to leave their ties at home?
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