VW to build EVs at 16 factories by 2022

Analysis How will car makers meet new CO2 laws

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Volkswagen has already awarded 20 billion euros ($25 billion) in contracts to secure battery supplies in Europe and China, partnering with manufacturers such as Samsung and LG.

Mr Mueller, speaking at the company's annual news conference in Berlin on Tuesday, gave an upbeat view after last year's record sales of 10.7 million vehicles.

Speaking to a group of worldwide reporters, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said "Nine new vehicles, three of which will be purely electric-powered, will be added to the Group's electric portfolio of eight e-cars and plug-in hybrids" this year.

The ongoing initiative will see 16 sites around the world become home to battery-powered vehicle production before the end of 2022 - a significant jump from the mere three facilities where VW Group's electric vehicles are now being built. He went on to say this rapid roll out is how "we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years".

Volkswagen shares were trading up 0.4 percent to 159.14 euros as of 12:50 p.m.in Frankfurt, narrowing the stock's drop this year to 4.4 percent.

Pressure has intensified on VW to overhaul its line-up.

Diesel is key to efforts to meet tighter environmental targets because of its fuel efficiency, even though it emits smog-causing nitrogen oxides. The Audi luxury marque is set to begin deliveries later in 2018 of the all-electric E-Tron SUV.

In November, the company committed 34 billion euros (about $42 billion) to a plan that supports electric and self-driving vehicles (even if that technology is a ways off) as well as other mobility services. Producing the powerpacks itself is not in the cards.

Finance chief Frank Witter said the increase in Mueller's remuneration chimes with calls from investors who have said that top managers are right to benefit from the group's success in profitable times.

Volkswagen said Tuesday it has committed to spending billions of dollars on electric auto batteries, as the German automobile giant plans to aggressively boost production globally.

In response, Volkswagen has started to shift its focus to environment-friendly cars.

The German manufacturer predicts an operating margin this year of 6.5%-7.5% of revenue, compared with 7.4% in 2017.

"The diesel scandal told us there was a need for radical change; the crisis has acted as a catalyst", said Muller.

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