Volkswagen Group to axe 40 models – report

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The Volkswagen Group will reportedly axe around 40 models to make way for an electric vehicle onslaught.

Sources within Volkswagen told Handelsblatt that the automaker would cut around a total 40 models from its mainstream Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda model ranges. When the bloodletting is done, these five brands will have a combined lineup of under 300 vehicles.

The report in the German newspaper’s weekend edition seemed to suggest that models from the company’s high-end luxury marques, including Bentley, Bugatti and Lamborghini, were safe from the axe.

A spokesperson told Automotive News, “A decision on how many models will be phased out or ceased has not been taken yet”.

Late last week, Volkswagen announced a new strategy that will see the car maker release 30 electrified cars by 2025, as well as invest heavily in self-driving vehicles and ride-sharing services.

Earlier, a report indicated that the company’s board was considering offloading some “non-core” parts of the empire, including MAN trucks and motorcycle maker Ducati.

Cash raised from these sales would go towards funding the company’s pivot from diesel cars to EVs and plug-in hybrids. This money will also help pay for on-going costs related to the dieselgate scandal.

When the company publicly confessed to installing emissions testing defeat devices on around 11 million EA189-engined diesel cars in September 2015, it set aside 16.2 billion euros ($24.7 billion) to pay for remediation work, buy backs, litigation costs and fines.

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