Tesla Facing Growing Competition From a Big Player

A major automaker may be able to overtake Tesla’s EV sales by 2024, a recent report says.

Volkswagen  (VWAGY) – Get Volkswagen AG ADR Report is moving into the fast lane.

The German automaker has been picking up speed recently in its quest to overtake electric vehicle overlord Elon Musk’s Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report.

The company said it saw “27% more all-electric vehicle deliveries in 1st half of 2022! #VWGroup electric ramp-up is in full swing,”  in a tweet on July 15.  It added: “217,100 “#ElectricVehicles handed over by end of June. #BEV deliveries in #China increased more than 3x to 63,500.#EV order intake in Western Europe up by 40%.”

This happened, the company said, “despite ongoing supply bottlenecks and Covid-related lockdowns in China.”

China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market, proved to a bright spot for Volkswagen. 

The company’s sales fell by around a fifth in the first half of this year from a year earlier, Reuters reported, led by a steep drop in Europe. But battery-electric sales were boosted by growth in China.

While Europe, traditionally Volkswagen’s strongest battery-electric market, saw a 16.5% drop in BEV sales in the second quarter, sales more than doubled in China

The company said its BEV deliveries in China increased more than three-fold to 63,500 units even amid Covid restrictions.

“We are working intensively to reduce the high order bank and the delivery times for our customers and are committed to our goal of a BEV share of 7% to 8% for the full year,” Hildegard Wortmann, group board member sales, said in a statement.

The company took to Twitter to tell the world that “Electrifying China: Doubling our ID sales this year looks promising. China CEO Stephan Wöllenstein expects 15,000 to 20,000 ID deliveries per month. Our #BEV deliveries increased already more than 3x to 63,500 in the first half of 2022.”

‘Building for the Future’

The ID series is the first family of cars from VW that are purpose-built electric vehicles. The ID AERO, Volkswagen’s first fully-electric limousine for the Chinese automobile market, made its debut last month.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess recently said that the company “will do some major investments” China.

“Volkswagen is building for the future and it sees much of that future in China,” said Brian V. Larson, marketing professor Widener University. “The sales results that VW is experiencing is the result of smart planning, active market research, and manufacturing investments.”

Larson said that global, traditional automotive brands are learning that China is a distinct market. 

“The traditional combustion-engine manufacturing brands have been building cars that satisfy American and European markets: Chinese consumers are demanding other benefits,” he said. 

‘A Formidable Competitor’

While Tesla is outselling VW in China in the EV category currently, Larson said Volkswagen’s size and its renewed focus on the local Chinese market “makes it a formidable competitor positioned to continue its BEV sales success.”

“VW is committed to growing its established presence in China,” he said. “Its plan for growth relies on meeting Chinese consumer expectations and building great new electric vehicles.”

Volkswagen is involved in a joint venture with Chinese auto companies, Larson said, “giving it unique insight and the advantages of collaborating with a domestic partner.”

“VW has developed an innovative new modular electric drivetrain to power their many brands and these many brands allow VW to shrink the development costs by spreading them across VW Group’s many global offerings… something Tesla will have a difficult time replicating,” he said.

Volkswagen is also starting to design cars specifically for Chinese consumers, Larson said, and new electric VWs will be smart cars and have more software capabilities. 

Diess has also said he wants to possibly surpass Telsa by 2025, but a report released by Bloomberg Intelligence last month was even more optimistic. 

Taking Tesla’s Crown

The study said that while Tesla is set to retain the global sales crown for at least another year, Volkswagen “is poised to overtake the US company in 2024 and already leads in Europe.”

The German automaker is on track to overtake Tesla’s BEV volume in 2024 as global BEV demand is set to more than double out to 2025. 

Bloomberg Intelligence said battery prices remain critical to cost effectiveness and Volkswagen is investing as much as 30 billion euros–roughly $30.2 billion–in the supply chain, including six new battery cell plants in Europe.

The company recently broke ground for its first such plant, the SalzGiga facility in Salzgitter, Germany.

#SalzGiga will manufacture unified cells for around 500,000 battery #ElectricVehicles per year,” VW tweeted. “That’s the power we need for our volume brands!”

The new plant, with planned capacity up to 40 gigawatt-hours, will supply roughly half a million electric vehicles.

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