Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) intends to sell electric cars for less than 20,000 euros ($22,836) and protect German jobs by converting three factories to make Tesla (TSLA.O) rivals, a source familiar with the plans said, Reuters reported.
VW and other carmakers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the carmaker was found to have cheated diesel emissions tests, with its chief executive Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany’s auto industry faces extinction.
Plans for VW’s electric car, known as “MEB entry” and with a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Nov. 16, the source said.
Another vehicle, the I.D. Aero, will be built in a plant currently making the VW Passat, a mid-sized sedan, the source said.
The Wolfsburg-based carmaker, which declined to comment on the plans, is also expected to discuss far-reaching alliances with battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation (096770.KS) and rival Ford (F.N), the source said.
The November 16 strategy meeting will discuss Volkswagen’s transformation plan to shift from being Europe’s largest maker of combustion engine vehicles into a mass producer of electric cars, another source familiar with the deliberations said.
VW’s strategy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel engine vehicles, forcing carmakers to think of new ways to safeguard 600,000 German industrial jobs, of which 436,000 are at car companies and their suppliers.
An electric van, the ID Buzz, is due to be built at VW’s plant in Hannover, where its T6 Van is made, the source said.
To free up production capacity for electric cars in Hannover, VW’s transporter vans could be produced at a Ford (F.N) plant in Turkey, if German labor unions, who hold half the seats on VW’s board of directors, agree, the source added.