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Volkswagen to produce petrol engines for Africa until 2050

The future between what Volkswagen (VW) shows and what South Africa gets is going to dramatically diverge in future. Klaus Zellmer is VW's head of sales and the man who has to plan future product demand. If anyone has an idea what VW's realistic product portfolio is going to be in a decade from now, it is Zellmer.
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In a candid interview with Germany’s Muenchner Merkur, Zellmer confirmed that VW is not going to sell any internal combustion vehicles in Europe, beyond 2035. And implies no hybrids, either.

The boldness of Europe’s largest car company, committing to a zero tailpipe emissions portfolio by 2035, is significant. It also means that Porsche, which is within the VW ownership organogram, won’t be producing its classic flat-six engine, for the 911, by 2035.

A telling aspect of Zellmer’s interview, was when he was quizzed about VW’s product strategy for Africa. Zellmer’s view is more long-term. Which has implications for the local market.

Africa on a different timeline

Despite VW committing to an exclusively electric vehicle product line-up in Europe, by 2035, Africa will not transition on a similar timeline.

But when will the African VW product offering, bid farewell to petrol and diesel? That would be 2050. This is the date by which VW has committed to having a carbon zero global business, which includes Africa.

What are the implications? Turbopetrol and diesel engines until 2050 at your local VW dealer? Probably. In a phased approach, with the benefit of hybridisation.

The challenging bit will be keeping those engines current, with software and injectors.

There is no new engine development happening, and 2050 is a long way into the future. An analogy for the issue: using 2021 engines in 2050, might be like driving the Golf 2 GTI engine, in your Golf 8 GTI.

This article originally appeared on

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