VW to woo picky Chinese buyers with new electric sub-brand

BEIJING: Volkswagen AG will start sales of a new electric-vehicle brand in China kitted out with gadgets like an in-car avatar to help win back young buyers it has lost to the likes of BYD Co.

The ID.UX sub-brand will include features that Chinese customers have come to expect, according to the VW brand’s China head Stefan Mecha, such as advanced speech recognition and high connectivity to China-specific social platforms.

After leading in China for decades, VW has been caught wrong-footed on EVs where local brands dominate with 84% market share according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The sub-brand’s first model ID.UNYX will go on sale this year in China only, Mecha told reporters ahead of the Auto China show here.

The vehicle will be VW’s first salvo in the race to catch up with vehicles like BYD’s Seagull and Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co.’s Zeekr brand offering a range of tech features.

VW’s current ID range of cars have been prone to software glitches, turning off tech-savvy consumers.

ID.CODE concept.
ID.CODE concept.

Other models on show by the VW Group here include a long wheelbase version of the electric Audi Q6 e-tron and a version of the Porsche Taycan tailored to China.

"In China, younger people are the ones buying electric cars,” said Bernstein analyst Stephen Reitman.

"They are going to be much less inculcated in the brand - the parents are more likely to remember what Volkswagen stands for.”

VW plans to offer at least five all-electric models in its ID.UX line-up by 2027, which will be made with VW’s joint-venture partner Anhui Jianghuai Automobile and priced slightly higher than the brand’s current EV lineup.

Separately, VW is also collaborating with automaker Xpeng Inc. on new underpinnings for compact EVs.

The new platform targets production cost that are 40% lower than the current MEB platform, which the ID.UNYX is based on.

The first models of the Xpeng collaboration will go on sale in 2026 with VW showcasing design cues and in-car tech with the ID.CODE concept car here.

Autos Volkswagen