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Volkswagen (VW) is plotting a major push into China as the brand looks to be “number one” for electric mobility in the region.

At a press conference in Shanghai, recently appointed chief Herbert Diess revealed the car maker will build and launch a fully electric vehicle for Chinese consumers by 2021. It will see the brand take on market leader Tesla in a region where electric cars are being given greater support by authorities.

“China emerged as a powerhouse of the automotive industry,” Diess said.

“We plan to produce more than 22 million electric cars in the next 10 years.

“As a brand, we want to be number one in terms of electric mobility in China and beyond.”  

He said half of the brand’s engineers are working on products for the market and that will see it invest more into research and development for the country.

VW is also considering a number of partnerships and joint ventures to expand its footprint, Deiss said.

VW delivered a record number of vehicles to Chinese mainland and Hong Kong consumers last year, with deliveries up 0.5% to 4.21 million.

Any advertising uptick as a result of the renewed focus on its electric models will benefit Cheil Greater China, which was the winner following an eight-month global review of its agency roster which concluded last November.

VW is hoping to improve its marketing efficiency by about 30% by 2020 while keeping its global marketing budget at about €1.5bn.