Volkswagen wants to become more agile with new R&D centre in China

Volkswagen wants to become more agile with new R&D centre in China

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

After Volkswagen recently lost market share in China, the German car manufacturer has to take countermeasures. The company now intends to invest around 1 billion euros in setting up an R&D centre. The focus will be on the networking of vehicles.

As the car manufacturer announced at the Shanghai Autoshow, it intends to establish a subsidiary under the name “100%TechCo”, which with its novel concept is to shorten the development of new products and technologies by 30%. To this end, 100%TechCo will not work like an ordinary development department, but will also be responsible for the procurement of the corresponding components. In this way, synergies in the development process are to be leveraged and state-of-the-art technologies – in this case technologies developed in China – are to be integrated into product development at an early stage. Overall, the model policy is to become more nimble and agile in order to be able to react more quickly to customer wishes.

In addition, the company is to dovetail the development projects of all joint ventures of the VW Group in China and thus bring SAIC Volkswagen, FAW-VW and Volkswagen Anhui closer to the product and technology strategy of the VW Group. The same should apply to the strategic partnership with Horizon Robotics. Horizon Robotics is considered one of the leading providers of hardware and software solutions for automated driving in China.

Volkswagen sees the establishment of the company as an important step in its China strategy. The bundling of development and procurement will make it possible to integrate local suppliers into the projects at an early stage and thus significantly accelerate the pace of development, explained Ralf Brandstätter, Group Board Member for the China region.

The new company, based in the city of Hefei, is scheduled to start operations in 2024. To start with, 2000 skilled workers are to be employed there. Marcus Hafkemeyer, who currently acts as Chief Technology Officer of Volkswagen Group China, is earmarked for the position of CEO.

In China, Volkswagen has fallen far short of expectations with its ID. family of battery electric vehicles. Observers cite as one of the reasons that VW had not recognised specific requirements of the Chinese clientele in time. For example, the infotainment with its small touch screen, which seems outdated compared to e-cars from domestic development, was criticised. With the 100%TechCo, Volkswagen intends to better get its ear to the pulse of Chinese buyers.

Related articles:

Volkswagen cranks up investments in digitalization and e-mobility

Global BEV market booming – Germen OEMs limping behind

Chinese OEM GAV Group opens European R&D centre

E-Mobility innovation: Tesla extends lead, China coming up strong

German, Japanese automotive suppliers lose ground to Chinese ones


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