The world’s third-largest manufacturer of electric cars, and the world’s second dry manufacturer, has proposed to bring forward the end of sales of models with internal combustion engines. It will not be in 2035, but in 2033, assured yesterday Thomas Schäfer, responsible for Volkswagen (brand, not Group). It is not the first time that Volkswagen has made its goals even more ambitious, but it will not be the last either.
Of course, they will sell fewer cars than today, unless things change a lot. In 2026 they will have 10 new electric models, including the new access models below 25,000 euros. It will have been a huge advance for the consumer, to buy a utility for the same price that a Passat TDI could be bought in 2006 (several segments above) without taking into account inflation of 35.3%; 25,000 euros in 2006 are equivalent to 33,825 today.
The access model to the range is expected to be called ID.1 in its standard body, and ID.2 in its
raised body and inflated-price SUV version. And as a basic model, don’t think of something as “far away” as the e-Up! nor like their ancestors (Lupo or Fox), they point more to B-segment cars at least, like the current Polo and T-Cross.
The factories will have a more flexible production, and the same line will allow several models to be made at the same time, moving away from the current approach, in which the factories specialize in very specific models, or at most, these and their variants. All this will allow Volkswagen to grow in sales of electric cars, but the difference in volume concerning Tesla is still evident, and BYD already marks a distance with Volkswagen of 100,000 units per quarter.
The consumer will have less to choose from in that future range, especially if they cannot afford a car of €25,000 or more. Within the same Volkswagen brand, we have been seeing years of rationalization and disappearance of variants, and that will continue, homogenizing work at the factory level. Ultimately, having so much choice was not such a good thing for financial results, but it was offset by volume.
In 2021, Volkswagen as a group manufactured more than 8 million units, while the leader, Toyota, made more than 10. As long as it is not possible to offer more affordable electric cars, millions of consumers may be excluded from the brand. And while that is coming, the future of SEAT is up in the air, when it could play its role as an access brand alongside Skoda, because CUPRA has not been oriented that way.