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VW showed the first member of its SOL range, the SOL E20X, at the Beijing Auto Show (Image: VW)

Volkswagen Group has announced direct investments of around 15 billion euros into e-mobility, autonomous driving, business digitalization and new mobility services in China, part of a 34 billion euro global program. This follows the corporate restructuring outlined recently by new chairman Dr Herbert Diess.

At the Beijing auto show, the future vision for the Volkswagen Group China division was outlined: besides the start of local production of six new electric vehicles, it is working on what it calls “the fourth dimension of mobility, whereby the car will be a smart, self-moving device embedded in a digitalized eco-system.” It has formed partnerships including collaborations with Mobvoi for artificial intelligence and HMI, with Mobility Asia’s ezia for mobility services, and Shouqi, for ride-hailing, car-sharing and last-mile mobility solutions. Volkswagen Group China has also joined the Didi Chuxing alliance to explore areas including smart city, autonomous driving and robo-taxi projects.

The FAW-Volkswagen joint venture is said to be building a network-connected ecosystem which will connect areas including research and development, production, quality assurance, sales and aftersales, as well as delivering personalized experiences to end-users and consumers, while SAIC-Volkswagen is working on mobile internet-based services for customers. JAC-Volkswagen, meanwhile, is looking at developing big data services, electronic payments and digitized research and development, and a further agreement has been made with Zhejiang Tmall Technology Company Ltd to “create an innovative retail model”.

The new SOL brand from JAC-Volkswagen made its debut in Beijing with its first car, the electric-powered, connected and AI-enhanced SOL E20X crossover.

- Farah Alkhalisi