Four out of 10 VW cars sold in China in 2017

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At the Geneva Motor Show, VW Group introduced three new electric concepts, including the Audi e-tron, the Porsche Mission E Cross, and the I.D. Vizzion - the latter being the latest addition to the growing I.D. range. 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 added that a third of the auto maker's nine new vehicles for 218, will be 100% electric powered.

"Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement "Roadmap E" with the necessary speed and determination", CEO Muller explained in Berlin.

It already has three EV assembly operations and will add another nine within two years.

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Chief executive officer Matthias Müller told the media conference that from 2019 there will be a new electric vehicle coming into production "virtually every month".

Volkswagen has already awarded contracts worth €20bn ($24.6bn) to battery manufacturers in Europe and China, and plans to purchase around €50bn ($61.6bn) of EV batteries in total.

"This 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", Müller insisted. So far the company has yet to decide on a supplier for North America.

Experts see VW's repeated emphasis on this front as a means of getting rid of the stigma of "dieselgate" of 2015 that has continually haunted the firm.

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He said conventional internal combustion engines would play a role in the company's push to meet tougher European Union limits on carbon dioxide emissions by 2021. The company has already repaid billions in costs and fines for dodging emission level tests.

"Things are moving. And we have plans for much more".

Witter said that the group's financial position was solid, despite the challenge posed by expenditure on the diesel scandal.

On its outlook for 2018, Volkswagen Group said it expects deliveries to customers to moderately exceed the prior-year figure. In terms of operating profit, an operating return on sales of between 6.5 and 7.5 percent is anticipated. These expenses in the 2017 fiscal year were mainly attributable to higher expenses for the buy-back and retrofitting programmes for 2.0 l and 3.0 l TDI vehicles in North America and to higher legal risks.

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