VOLKSWAGEN Group is believed to be planning to cull as many as 40 models from its lineup as the carmaker attempts to reinvent itself, post Dieselgate.
German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on the weekend that the German premium brand, which announced late last week that it would invest tens of billions of dollars to become a world leader in “sustainable mobility”, was considering culling 40 models from the more than 360 it currently builds under its Volkswagen, Audi, Škoda, Porsche and Seat brands.
While a Volkswagen spokesman confirmed the model cull was under consideration, “a decision on how many models will be phased out or ceased has not been taken yet”, the report said.
The carmaker is expected to face angry shareholders at today’s annual general meeting in Germany, pushed back from earlier in the year, as the company tried to account for the full impact of the Dieselgate scandal.
Today’s AGM is the first since revelations that Volkswagen had cheated on emissions testing for diesel and petrol-engined models almost a year ago.
Last week the company announced it would reinvent itself with the aim of developing more than 30 new “e-vehicles” by 2025, adding up to three million sales to the brand.
‘[The] ‘TOGETHER – Strategy 2025’ provides the framework and compass for the Volkswagen Group's envisioned evolution from car manufacturer into a world-leading provider of sustainable mobility,” Volkswagen chief executive Matthias Müeller said.
“It will be fleshed out with corresponding strategies for the [Volkswagen] Group brands to be gradually elaborated over the coming months.”
The carmaker is expected to make a decision on which models to cull from its line-up by the end of this year; a timeline set by Mueller for VW to release its “detailed strategic program, broken down into brands and functions and backed up with specific measures and financial targets”.
Volkswagen Group Australia has already rationalised part of its local line-up, giving clues as to what models are likely to face the axe. These include the Volkswagen Eos four-seat convertible, and the Volkswagen Polo three-door hatchback.