Last week German automotive giant Volkswagen signed a deal with JAC Motors, one of China’s leading vehicle manufactures, that is likely to see both companies explore the possibility of expanding their electric car offering.
Though there has been no definitive resolution on what this partnership deal could mean in terms of actual electric and hybrid car development, experts are anticipating that a decision to produce a ‘significant’ number of environmentally friendly vehicles designed to tackle widespread air pollution could be confirmed within a few months, and perhaps even prior to the end of 2016.
Volkswagen is a brand that has seen incredible success in China of late; from January to July of 2016, the company sold 2.2m cars in the Asian country, which is a greater number of units than every country in western Europe combined.
The partnership between VW and JAC could be a shrewd one, with some political experts predicting that the Chinese government is considering a proposal that will see all combustion engines banned from huge cities such as Beijing and Shanghai in a bid to reduce pollution. Should such a decision be made, the electric car market will likely blossom overnight.
And, even without such legislation in place, sales of electric vehicles are on the rise in China; official figures suggest that sales in 2015 quadrupled when compared to 2014’s figures, with the country now regarded as the largest market in the world for electric vehicles.
Volkswagen has been increasingly vocal about its desire to enhance the environmental performance of its vehicles of late, which is hardly surprising in the wake of the revelations in September 2015 that revealed the company had intentionally programmed engines so they would give cleaner emissions results in test conditions than could never be achieved during the remainder of the car’s lifespan. The subsequent fallout not only hit sales figures, but also massively damaged the company's reputation.
Volkswagen already has partnerships with Chinese car manufacturers SAIC Motor and FAW Automotive and, following this deal with JAC, it appears likely to VW is only set to enhance its position as a leading name in China’s vehicle market.