VW Brand to Beef Up Hybrid Offerings as EV Shift Stumbles

Last Year, the Manufacturer Scrapped Plans to Build a Dedicated $2.2 Billion EV Factory in Germany
VW logo on vehicle
A VW logo on an ID.3 electric vehicle at Volkswagen AG headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand plans to bolster its offering of plug-in hybrid cars in response to a slowdown in demand for fully electric vehicles.

Expanding its portfolio of models with both a battery and an engine is among the VW brand’s top priorities, CEO Thomas Schäfer said May 8. The move is a shift from its previous strategy of focusing mainly on full EVs.

Customers “want plug-in hybrids now, including in China and the U.S.,” Schäfer said on the sidelines of an auto industry conference in London.

Volkswagen has been tweaking its EV strategy after model delays and falling behind in China, where local brands dominate. Last year, the manufacturer scrapped plans to build a dedicated $2.2 billion EV factory in Germany.

RELATED: VW Sees Positive Results for Potential Breakthrough Battery

With EV growth slowing, carmakers are turning to familiar drivetrains to defend sales. Toyota Motor Corp. has been benefiting from a surge in global demand for hybrids. Mercedes-Benz Group AG earlier May 8 said it will sell combustion-engine cars longer than expected amid disappointing EV sales.

VW’s latest hybrid technology — used in models such as the Passat and the Tiguan — already offers an electric range of more than 62 miles, Schäfer said.

“But now you have to think further,” he said. “How do we make this even more cost-effective? How do we get there? This is happening right now.”

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: