From Beetle “milestone” to cars of the future
By Angela Komodromou
The Volkswagen Group and PM Tseriotis are both celebrating significant milestones, with their partnership starting 64 years ago with the launch of the iconic Beetle in Cyprus.
Here to join the celebrations was Fred Kappler, Director of Sales at Volkswagen Group, who said that Unicars is a ‘multi-brand’ partner in Cyprus that has survived challenging times.
Looking ahead, Kappler said that in ten years, nearly 25% of all cars on the road will be electric or hybrid and that the new generation of VW models will be rolled out next year.
The Volkswagen Group is celebrating 80 years this year and the P. M. Tseriotis Group 100 years. What is the ‘secret’ of this success? How have these two household names survived global and local crises?
The history of the P. M. Tseriotis Group goes back to the times of World War I with all its political and social challenges. During that time, the founder of P.M Tseriotis Ltd., Mr. Panayiotis Michael Tseriotis, has laid the foundation for a successful business.
The introduction to Cyprus of the legendary Volkswagen Beetle in 1953 was the first important milestone in our joint history. It marked the beginning of a long, eventful, and prosperous business relationship and collaboration with Volkswagen and later with the whole Volkswagen Group: The Audi brand joined in 1976, SEAT in 1990, and Škoda in 1998. The latest increase of the product portfolio has come with Ducati and Lamborghini. Therefore, Unicars is our multi-brand partner in Cyprus for the whole Volkswagen Group.
Teamwork is the key to success, especially in difficult times. We, the Volkswagen Group, value the P. M. Tseriotis Group highly as a trustworthy business partner who has proved an excellent reliability over decades of partnership. The last economic crisis has shown once again that we are capable of going through challenging times together and that our partnership is strong.
We can only deliver the products – the market performance lies within our partners’ hands. We are pleased with the great development of the P. M. Tseriotis Group and look forward to many more years of our future cooperation and development. The future holds new opportunities and exciting challenges that we will experience together as partners.
The global trend is towards electric or hybrid vehicles. We have not seen many in Cyprus, but the interest is growing. What share of sales will electric, hybrid and non-petrol fuelled vehicles have in, say, 10 years from now?
In general, the development of electric, hybrid and non-petrol fuelled vehicles is driven by CO2 public awareness and regulations, the electrification strategies of OEMs and the customer acceptance for alternative powertrains.
Although there are significant differences between markets, governments increasingly take legislative measures to support electric vehicles and dis-incentivize non-electric vehicles. The public charging infrastructure is expanded and OEMs continue to launch new models with improving electric ranges. Further, the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles is expected to decrease in line with the continuous falling battery costs.
Therefore, we expect that in about 10 years in Europe approximately 25% of newly registered passenger cars will be a battery electric or a plug-in hybrid cars and more than 50% will be full- or mild-hybrids cars
You concluded your speech by saying “the future has already begun with Volkswagen’s TOGETHER Strategy 2025: the society changes. Digitalisation is increasing. New electric mobility and autonomous driving represent game changers. We will shape the future together with our partners.” Can you elaborate more on these changes?
The automotive industry has been changing and it will continue do to so, at an increasing speed. Digitalization, changing customer behavior and technological innovation are demanding challenges. We need to secure our business while searching new ways to cope with these changes and turn them into opportunities for our business.
In this context, we understand new developments and technological progress as impulses and opportunities for our company. There are millions of cars from our brands on the street and we cooperate with thousands of partners worldwide. If we take opportunity of this capability on a broad basis, I am sure we will meet customer expectations and maintain our global and local success.
Concerning the future mobility, we understand battery electric vehicles as a key to success. The shift towards this new technology will need a change in our cars and our services – but we have been working on this for some time. There are models in the market already but we have not yet achieved our goal. We will broaden our portfolio in the upcoming year, which can, for example, be seen at motorshows. The next generation of our electric portfolio will be rolled out as of next year.
Of course, all our cars – no matter if battery, hybrid or conventional – are connected and will be state-of-the-art in this regard and, therefore, offer the benefits of the digital world