The situation of Volkswagen and its various brands (including Audi, Skoda and Cupra) continues to deteriorate. The cause: big problems with demand and the engines of electric cars.
The electric car is an El Dorado for some (we think of Tesla and BYD in particular), but can be a vision of hell for others. The German group Volkswagen is number 3 in electric cars, far behind Tesla and BYD, leader and number 2 respectively. But he could well lose his place faced with the rise of other Chinese groups, especially with the many setbacks of the moment.
We knew that it really wasn’t in good shape for Volkswagen on the electric car. An order book that is struggling to fill, software problems that are multiplying, the cancellation of the construction of new factories, less than reassuring comments from the group’s boss, etc. But, unfortunately, the situation does not seem likely to improve.
Volkswagen compact electrics in the spotlight
As reported by the German media Handelsblatt, demand for Volkswagen electric cars is so low, that the group is forced to drastically reduce the production rate at the Zwickau factory. Line 1, which produces the Volkswagen ID.3 and Cupra Born, was already interrupted for two weeks in October. Although production has since resumed, the three teams (3×8 work) have been transformed into two teams (2×8 work). Enough to drastically reduce production.
But unfortunately bad news never comes alone. In this same factory, line 2 produces electric cars based on the same platform (MEB) but in SUV format. These are the Volkswagen ID.4, ID.5, and Audi Q4 e-tron. This line is at a complete standstill. In question ? The new APP550 electric motor which poses serious problems.
An engine that is not running at full speed
German media Handesblatt tells us in another article that Volkswagen only managed to produce around 30% of what was initially planned. This problem also concerns the plants in Emden (Volkswagen ID.7) and Mlada Boleslav (Skoda Enyaq). In fact, all these electric cars must receive the new, more efficient engine, which also reduces consumption.
It is said that Volkswagen wants keep most of the production of this new engine for the Volkswagen ID.7, which has just been commercially launched. This is therefore bad news for the other cars in the group which must benefit from it, and which could therefore experience ignition delays.
Coming back to the Zwickau factory, Volkswagen plans to produce 230,000 electric cars there in 2023, for a capacity of 350,000 units per year. And all this while Tesla and BYD are looking for every way to increase their production to increase their sales.
The future of Volkswagen in question?
Fortunately for Volkswagen, everything is not so dark: production of the new PPE platform engine intended for the future Porsche Macan and Audi Q6 e-tron has started. However, many months behind the initial schedule.
To try to fill the order book again, Volkswagen is making price cuts (sometimes spectacular), but will that be enough? It must be said that competition from new manufacturers is tough, with a quality/price ratio often superior to the historic German giant.
The future Volkswagen ID.2 at less than 25,000 euros should kick off the anthill. But it will arrive in 2025, after the electric Renault 5, also planned to be sold for 25,000 euros, from 2024.