BERLIN, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Volkswagen would invest 33 billion euros (38.6 billion U.S. dollars) in electric mobility by 2024, the German carmaker announced at its virtual annual general meeting on Wednesday.
The investment aims to make Volkswagen "become the market leader in battery-electric vehicles," according to the company, who also announced an additional 14 billion euros investment in building IT expertise and in autonomous driving by 2024.
In 2019 and 2020, Volkswagen had taken "significant steps towards becoming a leading provider of electric, digital mobility, achieving important milestones."
"The transformation of the group is not being held back by the coronavirus, but accelerated by it," said Volkswagen's chief executive officer (CEO) Herbert Diess.
But the German carmaker still "clearly felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic" in the current fiscal year as worldwide deliveries in the first eight months were down by 21.5 percent to 5.6 million vehicles.
According to the company, Volkswagen's largest single market China saw the smallest regional decrease in deliveries with 11.5 percent by the end of August, when around one in five new cars in China coming from Volkswagen.
In contrast, sales in Western Europe collapsed by almost one third. According to Volkswagen, Europe had been hit "more severely" by the pandemic. However, the German carmaker still managed to increase its market share by 0.8 percentage point to 23.7 percent.
Without providing a number, Volkswagen expected a "serious decline in earnings" compared to the previous year, with sales significantly below the level of 2019. Also due to a temporary halt in production during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany, Volkswagen recorded losses of around one billion euros in the first half of 2020 compared to a profit of 7.2 billion euros last year. Enditem