Volkswagen to Take Chainsaw to Engine Lineup in Modernization Push

2017 Volkswagen model range – Image: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group is about to drop gas and diesel engines like names at a swank party.

The automaker’s CEO has announced a multi-billion push to prepare the company for a much more stringent marketplace, part of which includes giving its internal combustion engine lineup a haircut.

Speaking at an auto industry conference in Vienna, Matthias Müller said the company needs to boost the efficiency of its engines by 10 to 15 percent to stay ahead of picky European and American regulators, Reuters reports. Reaching that goal carries a price tag of $11 billion, spread out over the next five years.

Up to 40 percent of the company’s engines won’t survive the operation, Müller claims.

“Even though modern combustion engines will be relevant for at least another 20 years, it is clear that the future will be ruled by electric drives,” Müller told the crowd.

To stay current in a climate of rapid change, VW plans to cover both sides of the aisle. While its engine lineup gets a technology boost, the automaker’s electric drivetrain efforts will see a tripling in investment — up to $9 billion between now and 2022. In addition to a range of EVs, VW plans to return to the hybrid game.

While the company’s hybrid efforts never saw much success in the U.S. (the slow-selling Jetta Hybrid was unceremoniously killed off last year), Müller promises numerous hybrids based on the company’s emerging technology.

“What’s at stake is to develop a future-proof drives portfolio as a basis for transforming the core autos business,” he said.

Müller didn’t elaborate on his engine promise, only saying that the 40-percent reduction would come from mass-market models. Late last year, a source inside VW Group’s Audi division claimed the company had stopped development of any new V8 engines. Certainly, the fallout from the diesel emissions scandal will see VW pare down its oil-burning offerings. More consolidation will likely come from the small four-cylinder gas engines offered in its Seat and Skoda brands.

Because VW needs its 3.6-liter V6 to power big-profit utility vehicles, expect that mill — or a similar (but leaner) successor — to carry the gasoline torch into the future.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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