Volkswagen aims to become the top selling electric automaker in the world. It’s got a steep hill to climb to get there, but the German auto giant has made a lot of progress in the past year. Tesla intends to reach 1.4 million BEV deliveries this year. Volkswagen Group is approaching 500,000. (Tesla actually has a target, reportedly, of producing 500,000 BEVs in the 4th quarter alone. Though, that is unlikely to happen.)
Overall, Volkswagen Group’s BEV sales (deliveries) were up 25% in the first 9 months of 2022. The conglomerate delivered 366,400 BEVs to customers in Q1–Q3, while 293,000 Volkswagen Group BEVs were delivered to customers in the first 9 months of 2021. And this was “despite ongoing supply constraints” — Volkswagen indicating demand is higher than sales. In fact, the company also said that in Western Europe alone, it has an order backlog over 350,000!
Volkswagen Group’s biggest regional growth came from China. If you’ve been following the Volkswagen BEV story for long, you have probably seen that Volkswagen got to a much slower start in China than it wanted. It had some definite “launching pains.” However, the German auto group has turned things around and more than doubled its sales in China this year (first 3 quarters of 2022 versus first 3 quarters of 2021). They rose from 47,100 to 112,700.
Across the world, in the 3rd quarter, 6.8% of Volkswagen’s sales were electric vehicle sales. In the first 9 months of the year, that figure was 6.0%, up significantly from 4.2% in the same period of 2021.
Volkswagen Group BEV Sales By Brand & Model
How were Volkswagen Group deliveries of full electric vehicles split by brand in Q1–Q3 2022? This is how:
- Volkswagen — 207,200 BEVs (57% of the Volkswagen Group total)
- Audi — 77,000 vehicles (21% of Volkswagen Group total)
- ŠKODA — 36,900 vehicles (10% of Volkswagen Group total)
- Porsche — 25,100 vehicles (7% of Volkswagen Group total)
- SEAT/CUPRA — 17,600 vehicles (5% of Volkswagen Group total)
How were Volkswagen Group deliveries of full electric vehicles split by model? This is how:
- Volkswagen ID.4/ID.5 — 122,600 units
- Volkswagen ID.3 — 45,500 units
- ŠKODA Enyaq iV (incl. Coupé) — 36,900 units
- Audi e-tron (incl. Sportback) — 36,400 units
- Audi Q4 e-tron (incl. Sportback) — 29,700 units
- Volkswagen ID.6 — 27.500 units
- Porsche Taycan (incl. Cross Turismo) — 25,100 units
- CUPRA Born — 17,500 units
Use The Force, Young Volkswagen
How can Volkswagen Group get to 1 millions sales? How about 2 million, 3 million? With the help of Jedi Knight Ewan McGregor, of course. Well, unlike its previous Star Wars and Obi-Wan Kenobi marketing campaign, Volkswagen didn’t solely highlight the Star Wars angle this time, mentioning some of Ewan McGregor’s other hits while rolling him out as a brand ambassador — Trainspotting and Moulin Rouge.
The question I have: does having someone like Ewan McGregor as a brand ambassador really sell more cars? Clearly, if you like McGregor, the positive association doesn’t hurt, but it’s not like this is BTS and it’s middle school and high school girls who are buying the cars. I don’t know — I like band ambassadors, and I like Ewan McGregor, but I just have a hard time seeing it as worth the money to make McGregor your brand ambassador. Nonetheless….
“Ever since he used money saved working as a hotel dishwasher to buy a Beetle, Ewan has been a huge Volkswagen fan. Nowadays, he owns an impressive collection of classic cars including three Beetles and a T1 bus lovingly restored to its original colour.
“To celebrate Ewan becoming our Global Ambassador, we invited him to take a behind-the-scenes tour of our factory in Wolfsburg. ‘It was a big day for me,’ he told us ‘I have been a Volkswagen enthusiast all my life.’ He was shown the ID. Buzz production line and saw how it’s transformed from a metal shell into a fully-electric camper.
“To see and meet some of the employees and to watch the robots was just amazing. I was like a kid in a candy store.”
But how much is Ewan into electric cars? Very. He converted a 1954 Beetle into electric. “My most beloved car is my oval ‘54 Volkswagen Beetle, and I just thought I’d use it more if it was electric. And I was right, I use it all the time in the traffic in L.A. I just love it, and now I can hear my passengers all the time when they are talking — before it was pretty loud.” Ewan is apparently quite sustainability minded (as many are in Hollywood), but it’s clear that the usability benefits of driving electric also played a role in his decision to convert his old Beetle into an electric car.
I guess I get a little bit better the global ambassador idea. We all know Ewan McGregor or other actors like him, and we feel like we know him and can trust him. (It’s one reason why so many people are often going up to celebrities and talking to them — we feel like we know them even though we don’t and even though they don’t know us at all.) When Ewan starts talking about all the things he loves about his Volkswagen cars, and driving electric, we can listen and trust him. His genuine passion for EVs and for Volkswagens is believable, and perhaps persuasive.
Autonomous Driving in China
On a different note, Volkswagen also recently announced a robotics and autonomous driving development over in China. Volkswagen Group’s software company, CARIAD, has partnered with Horizon Robotics to evolve its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving capabilities in China. CARIAD and Horizon Robotics will be creating a joint venture together, one in which CARIAD will be the majority shareholder. Volkswagen Group is putting €2.4 billion — that’s billion, not million — into this partnership. The money is supposed to be invested fully in the 1st half of next year, 2023.
“Together CARIAD and Horizon Robotics plan to develop cutting-edge, highly optimized full stack ADAS/AD solutions for China to drive forward the integration of numerous functions on one chip, increasing the stability of the system, saving costs, and reducing energy consumption. The fully integrated software/hardware technology offers differentiation and provides scalable as well as cost efficient ADAS/AD solutions for the Group’s BEV (Battery Electric Vehicles) models in China.”
But will it work out? We’ll see, and we’ll report back.
Featured image courtesy of Volkswagen
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