Volkswagen Group is planning on spending $12 billion in China on electric vehicles through its existing partners in the country.
The plan, announced Thursday, includes designing and building over 40 new electric and hybrid models, with nearly all of the work to be in China. The Chinese government requires automakers to share their EV technology with domestic partners or face stiff tarriffs. Some automakers, like Tesla, choose to face the tarriffs rather than share technology, but do have access to China’s free trade zones to move production closer to China.
A consensus seems to be building among most automakers that the Chinese market is worth the investment. With China’s moves to secure control over key battery minerals, it makes it hard for a manufacturer to say no.
What is still unclear is how this move will affect other markets VW sells vehicles in, such as the United States. VW’s chief made it clear that they intend to build many electric vehicles worldwide, including beloved classics like the Bus, Beetle and Thing. Will these technologies leave China to be built in other markets? And will remakes of classic models be built in China?
Either way, it’s an exciting development that makes it more likely to actually see our favorite VW vehicles come back.