Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has suggested the German firm could overtake electric-car giant Tesla to become the world’s largest manufacturer of EVs by 2025.
Diess, who has been in charge of the Volkswagen Group since 2018, made the claims following the news that Tesla is struggling to ramp up production because of battery shortages.
“[Tesla CEO] Elon [Musk] must simultaneously ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin [Texas] and Grünheide [Berlin] and expand production in Shanghai. That will cost him strength,” Herbert Diess said in Wolfsburg on Tuesday, reports the Financial Times.
“We have to seize this opportunity and catch up quickly. By 2025, we can be in the lead."
Musk has suggested that Tesla's new factories in the US and Germany were “losing billions of dollars” because of a combination of issues at shipping ports in China and battery shortages.
"Both [the] Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now,” Musk told Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley back in May. “It's really like a giant roaring sound, which is the sound of money on fire.”
Tesla’s factories in China have also been severely impacted by Covid-related shutdowns.
“The past two years have been an absolute nightmare of supply-chain interruptions, one thing after another, and we're not out of it yet," Musk said. "How do we keep the factories operating so we can pay people and not go bankrupt?"
Musk has previously disagreed with claims that Tesla would fall behind its German rival. Speaking at a Bloomberg conference, he said that Tesla didn't think about its competitors.
“The demand for our cars is extremely high and the wait list is long," he said. "We're increasing production capacity as fast as humanly possible.”
Volkswagen meanwhile is expecting a much stronger end to 2022, with Diess claiming that it's “earning more than ever”.
Diess also added that Volkswagen has ramped up production volumes for its EVs in China following Covid shutdowns and in Zwickau, Germany, thanks to the easing of semiconductor supply bottlenecks.
Volkswagen is targeting a production volume of around 800,000 EVs this year, with the goal of producing 1.2 million in 2023 following an extensive overhaul of its facilities.