Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess said in an address to employees this week that the company could overtake Tesla to become the top electric vehicle (EV) maker in the world by 2025 — reports the Financial Times.
Diess said Tesla is “weakening” as it tries to ramp up production at its new Gigafactories in Austin, Texas, and Berlin, Germany.
“Elon [Musk] must simultaneously ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Grünheide [near Berlin] — and expand production in Shanghai. That will cost him strength,” Diess told Volkswagen employees at the company’s Wolfsburg, Germany, headquarters on Tuesday.
“We have to seize this opportunity and catch up quickly — by 2025 we can be in the lead,” he added.
Despite his longstanding plans to overtake his all-electric rival, Diess himself said earlier this month that Tesla works “twice as fast as the rest of the industry.” Diess also noted that the race between his company and Tesla will be “tight in coming years.”
Diess’ presentation also included the following meme to illustrate Volkswagen’s upcoming creep on Tesla:
Last year, Volkswagen delivered 263,000 battery electrics — second to none but Tesla. The latter, meanwhile, led the market with almost four times as many deliveries at a whopping 936,000 units.
Diess claimed on Tuesday that Volkswagen “will close the gap to Tesla and not let it grow even larger” this year. In 2022, Tesla CEO Elon Musk predicts the company could deliver up to 1.5 million battery electrics. Volkswagen, on the other hand, is expecting to sell 700,000.
Volkswagen is certainly catching up to Tesla. However, whether it can get ahead will depend on how well Tesla scales production in the coming years.
Earlier this month, Giga Berlin hit a production milestone as it churned out 1,000+ cars in a week for the first time. However, the plant reportedly won’t be able to push production beyond 1,000 units per week until next year.
Musk said in a recent interview with Tesla Owners Silicon Valley that the new Gigafactories are “gigantic money furnaces right now.” Even though they’re running, the plants are losing billions of dollars as Tesla struggles to secure parts and accelerate manufacturing amidst global supply chain constraints.
Volkswagen, meanwhile, has issues of its own. The German automaker recently lost two key EV executives as it looks to ramp up production of battery electrics.
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