Volkswagen Group Announces Record Investments in Eco-Friendly Products

By Kent Fremon on 3 March 2014
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Volkswagen Group announced on Monday its plans to increase its investment expenditures on eco-friendly vehicles from last year by 15% to a record value of €10.2 billion or $14 billion. On the eve of the opening of the Geneva Motor Show, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, the Wolfsburg automaker’s chairman of the board of management, stated its goal in becoming the world’s leading automaker by ecological standards as well as by units sold.

The automaker’s environmental strategy is being implemented “in a binding, measurable way” across all business units and its supplier chain. The high sustainability requirements that the company is pledging to maintain are now firm components of suppliers’ contracts. Volkswagen is also the first automaker to have joined the Clean Shipping Network to analyze and reduce the environmental impact of marine transport. All of the company’s dealerships across Germany are receiving advice on becoming more energy efficient, and VW is attempting to reduce the CO2 emissions of its partner by 25% by the year 2020.

Dr. Winterkorn said in a statement that the bulk of the investment is going to green technologies, adding that “Volkswagen doesn’t just talk – we also act.”  He said that CO2 emissions by the automaker’s European Union new vehicle fleet averaged 128 grams/km, well under the statutory threshold set for 2015 and added that there had been considerable progress in production.  “We are taking great strides towards our goal of making our factories 25 percent more eco-friendly” in the areas of  energy and water consumption, as well as CO2 emissions.

Consumers currently have the option to choose between 54 model variants from Volkswagen brands that emit less than 100 grams of CO2/km, and 324 model variants below 120 grams CO2/km, making this the world’s largest low-CO2 fleet presently on the road, according to Volkswagen. The range of vehicles covered includes three-liter cars like the Golf TDI BlueMotion, the Audi A3 TDI Ultra, as well as cars like the Eco Up! which can travel 62 miles (100 km) for three euros. Plug-in hybrids such as the Golf GTE and Audi A3 Sportback E-tron are also being added to the widest range of electric vehicles on the market.

In addition, the modular production strategy employed by the group means that more than 40 models over the next few years may be made available as electric vehicles.

Volkswagen also plans to consistently expand its sustainability program. In line with the life cycle engineering approach, a life cycle assessment per vehicle will be implemented, with a balance sheet indicating the environmental impact of a vehicle over its life cycle.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)