Volkswagen EVs ‘can’t keep up’ in China, CEO tells newspaper

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen wants to avoid setting “utopian” goals for its market share in China, its CEO told German newspaper FAZ on Friday, adding that anything above 10% was “very respectable” given the intense competition.

The carmaker “cannot keep up at the top of the table at the moment” in China’s EV space, CEO Oliver Blume told FAZ. He added that new models due for release in coming years would improve the automaker’s standing.

Still, Blume said Volkswagen “shouldn’t have utopian expectations.”

“If we reach a two-digit market share in the long-term in a rapidly growing Chinese market, that is already a very respectable goal,” he said, according to the FAZ report.

Volkswagen’s overall market share in China dropped to 14% last year from 18% in 2018, as domestic electric-only carmakers won share amid declining combustion-engine sales.

Volkswagen’s China chief, Ralf Brandstaetter, has previously said VW aims to remain the leading international carmaker in China, though Chief Financial Officer Arno Antlitz warned late last year that it could lose share in the EV market until new models are released.

The German carmaker is pushing to expand its product range in China to attract customers in the entry- and mid-level segment of EVs in particular, with its current offering priced above that of many Chinese electric-only rivals.

(Reporting by Victoria Waldersee in Berlin; Editing by Friederike Heine and Matthew Lewis)