Volkswagen AG will spend more than 34 billion euros ($40 billion) over the next five years to develop automotive technology for an era of electric robo-taxis.
With the unprecedented investment through 2022, Volkswagen is accelerating its push into battery-powered vehicles, autonomous-driving features and ride-hailing systems, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said in a statement.
Volkswagen is seeking to defend its status as the world’s biggest automaker as new competitors such as Tesla Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. emerge as part of the disruptive shift.
“We are reinventing the car,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said. “The auto industry is facing fundamental changes in coming years, which will provide great opportunities but also require us to put in tremendous effort,”
he told. Alongside the automotive-technology spending, Volkswagen plans a five-year, 72 billion-euro budget for investment on property, plant and equipment, people familiar with the matter said. Volkswagen declined to comment.
The plan puts Volkswagen on track to spend about 14.4 billion euros a year, compared to recent annual spending levels of 12 billion euros. The increase shows the pressure to manage the sweeping changes in the auto industry. CEO Mueller is prodding the company to take a leading role in battery-powered vehicles and unveiled a plan to make electric versions of all 300 models in the 12-brand group’s lineup.