Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said that Tesla isn’t a threat to the company, as it continues to expand into the EV market and values the “great future” of the diesel engine as well.
“We can’t compare apples with pears. Tesla is a company that sells less than 100,000 units and we sell 10 million. Currently, Tesla burns a 3 digit million amount and we’ve got results of 12 to 13 billion euros per year, so I think we have to be realistic here,” he said.
Mueller said the company, in addition to aiming to produce 1 million battery powered vehicles by 2025, will be forging ahead with diesel technology despite the recent emissions scandal.
“The diesels we are offering today are clean. They comply with the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure requirements and they meet the requirements and needs of our customers,” he said.
VW’s statements are a departure from recent efforts to make up for the emissions scandal that has plagued the company. In early August, Oliver Schmidt, a former top emissions compliance executive for Volkswagen, was expected to plead guilty to up to 11 felony counts.
The VW scandal also prompted business for other auto companies like stealth electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive. The company is leasing land to a logistics company that has transported thousands of ‘dieselgate’ vehicles onto its property.
“These vehicles will be held and routinely maintained until it is determined whether an approved emissions modification becomes available,” said Jeannine Ginivan of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “If approved, the settlement allows Volkswagen to modify affected 2.0L TDI vehicles so they can be returned to commerce or exported. Vehicles that are not modified must be responsibly recycled.”
The commitment to the environmentally efficient diesel engine puts the company at odds with other automakers that have also committed to going electric. This week, Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz said that it would electrify all of its models by 2022.