Ahead of the Guangzhou Autoshow, Volkswagen says it's in talks with China's Didi Chuxing to set up a high-end ride-hailing service and announces ambitious sales goals for electric and hybrid vehicles in the world's biggest auto market. David Pollard reports.
Life in the fast lane as GM showcases models for China. But things have been slower for one of its big rivals. VW's share of its home market in Europe sinking for fourteen months since dieselgate. It too looking east - with one eye on China's booming demand for NEVs - 'new energy' hybrid and electric vehicles. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF VOLKSWAGEN CHINA, JOCHEM HEIZMANN, SAYING: "China is by far the fastest developing country in E-mobility." VW wants to sell 1.5 million NEVs a year by 2025. Overall, NEV sales in China were at just over 330 thousand units last year - four times what they were the year before. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FIDELITY WORLDWIDE INVESTMENT, INVESTMENT DIRECTOR, TOM STEVENSON, SAYING: "It's got problems and that is why it's looking to diversify geographically and in product terms as well. That's a sensible approach, but it's going to take time for that reputational damage to unwind." Reputation may be less of an issue in a Chinese market where many still don't own cars. But which is already the world's biggest car market. VW's other eye now firmly fixed on a future in high-end ride hailing services. And for that, it's in talks with Didi Chuxing. It has 300 million ride hailers across more than 400 Chinese cities. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF VOLKSWAGEN CHINA, JOCHEM HEIZMANN, SAYING: "Our intention is to be in every relevant mobility service area in China." VW joins a global trend. GM investing in Lyft - Toyota partnering with Uber. And for NEVs, VW now in two joint ventures in China - and considering a third. Though with a usual limit of two per firm, China may consider that a step too far.