Dusseldorf The VW group does not expect any new problems in the distribution of parts from the Ukrainian war. “We assume the supply chain will balance even if the war continues for a long time,” CEO Herbert Diess said Thursday at the Wolfsburg automotive manufacturer’s online conference. Volkswagen also benefits from a “good order”.
Immediately after the outbreak of war in late February, various retailers had to stop their production of cable harnesses in Ukraine. As a result, production in German car manufacturers, above all in Volkswagen, came to a standstill. As a result, approximately 100,000 vehicles could not be manufactured.
Meanwhile, many retailers have been able to resume operations in Ukraine. In addition, automotive manufacturers, along with their suppliers, have introduced alternative production in other European countries to be prepared for possible new emergencies.
“We were able to cover the supply constraints in a short period of time,” Diess CEO said, summarizing the development. That’s why Volkswagen has maintained its view of this year’s return.
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In 2022, the Wolfsburg car manufacturer calculated the operating rate of between seven and 8.5 percent. This also means that VW shareholders do not need to adjust to any new reductions. The group is holding its original allocation proposal: 7.50 euros for the joint stock, 7.56 euros for the non-voting part. This equates to an increase of more than 50 percent compared to the previous year.
VW Afa boss in global economy: Do not allow the creation of a new camp
At the same time, the CEO of Diess called for the adherence to a globalization model and the principle of “transformation through business”. Creating a new camp cannot be the answer to Ukraine’s war and conflict with Russia. “The interdependence of economic zones ensures that we talk to each other. We can only solve global challenges such as a collective climate crisis,” stressed the VW boss.
As a powerful exporter, Germany has especially benefited from globalization. It leads to prosperity and technological development. The Federal Republic relies on free market and free trade. “Our economic power has given us an important voice in the world over the last few decades,” he added.
Volkswagen therefore wants to connect with globalization itself, especially in China, Wolfsburg’s most important car sales market. The People’s Republic remains the “car market of the future”. Despite the expansion of production of power structures, the VW Group seeks to defend its position as a market leader in China.
Volkswagen has identified the United States as another important sales market. By 2030, the Wolfsburg-based company wants to expand its market share from around four to ten percent. To this end, the Group will invest more than seven billion euros over the next five years. “Electricity supply also provides an opportunity to enter the market in the United States,” stressed Diess. On Wednesday, Volkswagen announced that a new array of pick-up trucks and SUVs will be released in the United States starting in 2026.
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Strategically, Diess sees the VW Group in a good position. “The course we set ourselves shows success,” said the CEO. Volkswagen is on the right track when it comes to electrification and digital setting. The group sold about 450,000 electric vehicles worldwide last year. This number is doubled in 2022. Volkswagen is also making good progress in building its solid software expertise.
VW wants to be as profitable in the sale of electric vehicles as in the business of combustion engines. “We assume that the e-mobility business will have the same benefits as our combustion engine business sooner than planned,” announced Diess. The group can distribute its standard system to more and more models. VW had previously announced that in two to three years it would make as much money as electric cars as conventional combustion engines.
Criticism of the dissolution of the diesel committee
VW management board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch said at the annual general meeting that the group disbanded a special “Diesel” investigation committee formed in the autumn of 2015. As a reason, Pötsch said a civil investigation into the matter had been completed.
Criticism of this decision came from shareholders. Christian Strenger, the longtime boss of DWS’s property manager, which owns Deutsche Bank, spoke of “unfair judgment”. The diesel test at Volkswagen could not be stopped for long.
Elsewhere, the diesel issue is not over for VW. Last year, the group compared it to former CEO Martin Winterkorn, former Audi boss Rupert Stadler and other former board members. They pay compensation for the diesel scam of around 290 million euros. Most of these, about 270 million euros, are paid by management liability insurance.
According to the head of the management board, Pötsch, two shareholder cases have not yet been resolved against this settlement. However, Volkswagen maintains its legal position. “The comparison is still valid,” Pötsch said. Former members of the Volkswagen board have already paid at the same time.
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