Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller rejected predictions of diesel’s demise, saying that the diesel engine has “a great future” ahead of it.
“The diesels we are offering today are clean,” Mueller told CNBC at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show. “They comply with the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure requirements, and they meet the requirements and needs of our customers.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Mueller said that VW will continue to develop diesel cars. “There’s going to be a co-existence between combustion engines and electrified drive systems over the next 10 to 20 years, so against this background we should all be patient and relaxed and leave the decision to our customers. They should decide which concept they prefer.”
Mueller acknowledged that some jurisdictions have been talking about banning diesel engines, and said it is the responsibility of the car industry and governments to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In answer to the inevitable question about Tesla, Mueller said he doesn’t think of the California iconoclast as a threat to Volkswagen.
“We can’t compare apples with pears. Tesla is a company that sells less than 100,000 units and we sell 10 million. Currently, Tesla burns a 3-digit-million amount and we’ve got results of 12 to 13 billion euros per year, so I think we have to be realistic here,” Mueller said. However, he went on to say that he has great respect for Tesla, and that it remains to be seen who will have the upper hand in the long term.
Also at the show, VW announced a new strategy called Roadmap E, which calls for about a quarter of the company’s product line to be electrified by 2025.