WOLFSBURG -- Volkswagen Group will open itself up to more partnerships and strategic investments, CEO Matthias Mueller told reporters at the company's headquarters here today.
Discussions in the area of future mobility services are already at an "advanced stage," Mueller said. "The era in which our sector kept itself apart from everything is now over," he said.
Mueller said VW is not talking with Google or Apple about partnerships. He declined to name the companies with which VW is discussing future mobility tie-ups.
Google and Apple are among non-traditional automotive companies said to be developing self-driving cars and looking for partners. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are forcing automakers to rethink their future business strategies.
Mueller said VW aims to generate a "substantial proportion" of its revenue from new types of business models by 2025. Digitalization and new mobility services are areas with "high earnings" potential, Mueller said.
VW said it is establishing three so-called "Future Centers" in Europe, the U.S. and Asia to help realign the automaker for the "digital era." The first in Potsdam, Germany, is already operating. Teams will be established in Silicon Valley and Beijing by the end of the year. "We have many brilliant minds on board," Mueller said.
In November, VW hired former Apple executive Johann Jungwirth to head a newly established digital strategy unit. Jungwirth, who was head of future product innovation at Apple and was previously in charge of Mercedes-Benz's Silicon Valley unit, was linked to the tech company's Project Titan electric car project.
Mueller said VW has entered into a digital partnership with the Singularity Partnership in Pala Alto, California, a Silicon Valley new business incubator, and is working with U.S. software developer Pivotal on new software and mobility services.
Asset sales possible
Separately, VW said it could face "further significant financial liabilities" beyond the 16.2 billion euros ($18.4 billion) it has provisioned for its diesel emissions scandal and may need to sell assets as a result.
Europe's biggest carmaker said that although it had made
provisions for 2015, uncertainty about the ultimate cost of legal risks and criminal and administrative proceedings could mean that further financial liabilities would emerge.
"The funding needed to cover the risks may lead to assets having to be sold due to the situation and equivalent proceeds for them not being achieved as a result," it said in its risks and opportunities report published on Thursday.
Demand may decrease, margins in the new and used car business may fall and funds tied up in working capital may increase temporarily, the company said.
Reuters contributed to this report