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VW to offer autonomous solutions in China with local companies | Updated: 2021-09-06 17:54
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Visitors check out an electric Volkswagen model in Shanghai in March 2021. [Photo provided to]

Volkswagen AG will work with Chinese companies to offer local autonomous solutions, said a senior executive of the German car giant on Monday.

"The approach in China is somewhat different from what we see in Europe and the US," said Stephan Woellenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, in an online interview with China Daily.

In the United States and Europe, Volkswagen is working with US autonomous driving startup Argo. Woellenstein said the carmaker will make most of its global experience but will do it in a China-specific way in the country in partnership with local companies.

"We believe we need a strong Chinese partner or two on our side in order to comply with the forthcoming frame (of autonomous driving) in China," he said. "We try to keep the global synergies but in a China-specific way. We cannot do it alone."

Woellenstein did not reveal the names of possible Chinese candidates but he said they are in intense talks and Volkswagen is "coming to conclusion very soon who this partner will be".

Volkswagen is already working with Chinese drone maker DJI on advanced driving assist functions to be used in vehicles produced in China.

Volkswagen and Argo has unveiled the first version of the ID Buzz AD van in Munich, Germany.

The two companies shared plans to test and commercially scale the jointly developed, fully-electric self-driving van over the next four years.

In 2025, Volkswagen's subsidiary Moia will be commercially launching the ID Buzz in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a self-driving ride-pool system.

Hebert Diess, chairman of Volkswagen AG, said "Autonomous driving will entirely change our world, because it will change how the people will use this device (car)."

He said the mobility market is expected to double in size in 2030 from now because of autonomous driving.

By the same year, Volkswagen expects electric cars to account for half of its global sales.

In an interview with China Daily on Monday, Diess said the carmaker's serious rival globally is Tesla, adding that Chinese companies will emerge as Volkswagen's rivals as well, but it will take a couple of years for them.

Volkswagen is offering six electric models built on its electric MEB platform this year. It expects their combined sales to reach 80,000 to 100,000 units by the end of December 2021.

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