Volkswagen launches ‘100%TechCo’ to focus on China

Volkswagen will invest around one billion euros to establish a new R&D centre for fully connected electric cars in Hefei, China. The Group announced the project at the Shanghai Auto Show today and set ambitious targets for the ‘100%TechCo’ unit charged with accelerating innovation locally.

The project, also referred to as a “new company” in other parts of the announcement, is to combine vehicle and component development and procurement when launching in 2024. Volkswagen expects this to reduce development times for new products and technologies by around 30 per cent.

What is more, the new unit shall bring the German corporation in closer step with Chinese customers. The Group even lists integrating “state-of-the-art technologies from local suppliers” among the tasks set for 100TechCo.

Ralf Brandstätter, Group Board Member for China, added the new business was “an important step of our ‘in China, for China’ strategy. By consistently bundling development and procurement capacities and integrating local suppliers at an early stage, we will significantly accelerate our development pace. This will also strengthen the efficiency of cooperation for our joint venture and increase our profitability.”

This combination of R&D and procurement is not without precedent within the Group: the new Sandkamp Campus in Wolfsburg will also be staffed by employees from the other business divisions – for example, from purchasing, production and quality assurance.

Moreover, the joint ventures mentioned include the cooperations Volkswagen upholds with SAIC, FAW-VW, and Volkswagen Anhui.

The latter will also become the first task for the new unit. “In a first step, 100%TechCo will steer the development of the models of the Volkswagen Anhui joint venture based on the MEB platform and will be responsible for the development of China-specific platform requirements and modules with a focus on electric mobility,” Marcus Hafkemeyer, the new CEO of 100%TechCo, said.

Marcus Hafkemeyer also acts as Chief Technology Officer of Volkswagen Group China. At 100%TechCo, he will oversee more than 2,000 employees from procurement and R&D when they launch early next year.

The company is already expected to play a significant role in the development of a future Volkswagen brand model to be launched in 2024. In addition, the new unit will be “responsible for the development of China-specific platform requirements and modules with a focus on electromobility”.

In China, VW has so far fallen short of expectations with its ID. models, also because specific requirements of the Chinese clientele were not recognised in time. An example is the infotainment, which seems outdated compared to electric cars from Nio or Xpeng, with its small touchscreen by local standards, which has been criticised time and again. With the 100%TechCo, the company no longer wants to miss out on such developments and wants to be able to serve them better. Volkswagen, therefore, calls the foundation of 100%TechCo “another important milestone” in the Group’s “in China, for China” strategy. Other strategic measures include the recently announced strategic partnership with Horizon Robotics, a leading provider of hardware and software solutions for automated driving in China.


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