VW could sell its seven-seat ID.6. electric SUV, which is produced in China for the local market, in Europe in the future. According to a media report, however, the MEB model will not be built in Europe – but imported from China to Europe for the first time.
According to the portal Business Insider, around 15,000 ID.6s are to be imported to Europe per year. A spokesperson explained: “When models are successful in one market, it is only natural that market opportunities in other regions are also analysed. This naturally also applies to the seven-seater SUV ID.6. Volkswagen could also open up a new market segment in Europe with it. A decision on whether the ID.6 will be launched on the European market has not yet been made.”
The ID.6 is the first MEB model developed specifically for the Chinese market. At 4.88 metres in length, the electric SUV sits well above the ID.4. The concept of the ID.6 is “specifically tailored to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers in terms of space, functionality, design and especially user experience”, VW said at the model’s launch in April.
But if the ID.6 should come to Europe, it will come from Chinese production – production of the MEB SUV in Europe is apparently not planned. Therefore, the report mentions a “caesura” that is being prepared at the top of the group: “For the first time, the top brass around CEO Herbert Diess wants to have tens of thousands of ID.6 models produced in China and imported to Europe.” The decision on the plans, which have been worked out in secret, is to be taken in a few weeks.
Despite the transport costs, the margins on the ID.6 are expected to be significantly higher because production and labour costs are much lower in China. In a five-year cycle, up to 80,000 ID.6s are to be sold in Europe. “According to the report, there has been a quiet hope in the company’s top management “for decades” that “one day we will be able to ship vehicles produced in China to Europe and sell them here”. What pleases the top management could become a “dangerous precedent” for Volkswagen’s workers: If importing works with the ID.6 and brings high margins, why not import other models from China?
What would indeed be a turning point for Volkswagen, with its traditionally strong worker involvement and participation, is already being implemented by other manufacturers: BMW builds the iX3 exclusively in China, even if some components of the electric drive system are previously manufactured in Germany. However, every iX3 has come off the production line in Shenyang, China. And Tesla, which is currently receiving a lot of attention from VW’s top management, has also turned its plant in Shanghai into its global export centre: outside North America, every Model 3 and Model Y delivered worldwide is now built in Shanghai.
For Volkswagen, production in Germany has also been in the spotlight in recent weeks; Diess wants production at the main plant in Wolfsburg, in particular, to become more efficient and cheaper. As is well known, the electric flagship Trinity is to be built in Wolfsburg.
According to media reports, VW is currently examining three different options for the production of the Trinity. In addition to the already reported possible construction of a completely new production hall at the main plant in Wolfsburg, a second option envisages the construction of a new factory outside the current Wolfsburg plant, possibly in the Wolfsburg district of Sandkamp.
The third and most promising concept involves the construction of a completely new factory on the existing site. Because even Trinity production is unlikely to be sufficient to ensure high capacity utilisation at the Wolfsburg plant, the supervisory board is also examining a so-called hub model. The idea is to integrate electric cars, which are in particularly high demand, relatively flexibly into production in Wolfsburg.
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