MILAN -- Volkswagen Group does not expect its costly shift in production toward electric cars to hurt its profit margins, CEO Herbert Diess said in a newspaper report on Monday.
"We do not expect a deterioration in margins. Our advantage is that all our brands have the same platform for electric products and the same batteries that we buy in China," Diess said in an interview with daily la Repubblica's Monday supplement A&F.
VW Group expects to sell nearly 20,000 Audi e-tron full-electric cars this year, Diess said.
Porsche has sold out the first year's production of the Taycan, its first production battery-powered car, he said.
Orders for the ID3, VW brand's recently unveiled compact electric model, are already covering the production planned until mid-2020, Diess said.
Increasing sales of zero-emission battery-powered cars will help VW Group to avert potential billions of euros in fines for missing future EU CO2 reduction targets.
Last month at Frankfurt auto show Germany's premium automakers marketed electric cars as their flagship models to lure customers away from gas-guzzling SUVs.
Diess said he was concerned by the trade war between the United States and China, which was already causing a fall in Volkswagen's Chinese sales even if its market share in the country had been growing in the past six months, reaching 19 percent.
VW does not plan to cut its exposure to the Chinese market, Diess said.