Volkswagen plans on launching four EVs in China starting in 2026 based on a new entry-level EV architecture called A Main Platform. The cars will range in price from $20,000 to $23,800 and will be built by VW's joint ventures with SAIC and FAW. The move comes as VW has observed that the Chinese EV market is very "price-sensitive", as VW China boss Ralf Brandstaetter put it.
He told local reporters that the new platform would cater to Chinese buyers and their affinities in terms of battery, electric drive, and motor. The new platform will be based on VW's MEB, but using local suppliers in order to cut costs. For example, the cost of the dashboard display can be 37% cheaper when switching suppliers.
The new platform will not only enable cheaper EVs for the Chinese market, but also cut development times for new models by a third. With the help of this new platform, VW wants to be able to launch new models in two and a half years in the future, compared to four years right now.
VW lost its long-standing title of best-selling brand in China to BYD earlier this year, as buyers increasingly want EVs and VW's current models aren't all that enticing - its best selling EV this year, the ID.3, was 22nd in the market in terms of sales. China accounts for nearly half of VW's profits, so clearly it had to do something. Now we'll have to wait and see if the new platform will help VW take back its place at the top in a few years' time.