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Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintekorn told a German newspaper that they intend to increase its global staff by more than 10 percent in 2012. Currently Volkswagen employs 449,000 employees worldwide, but Winterkorn believes it’s entirely possible for VW to pack 500,000 in full by the end of 2012. That’s a whole lot of Volkswagenites.
It’s no surprise though, as Volkswagen has become quite the aggressive company under Winterkorn’s leadership. While other German competitors such as BMW are taking a conservative approach by saying their employee count will depend on how business goes, VW has their eyes set on rising to the top of the automotive world by 2018. By cutting costs and boosting profits, Winterkorn hopes that VW will have a global vehicle sales of more than 10-million units and a profit margin of more than 8-percent.
One of Volkswagen’s main competitive advantages is their modular car-production system. It allows them to reduce costs, production and development time while making it possible to introduce a greater variety of models and technologies. Only time will tell though whether or not this will really be the driving force in making Volkswagen one of the top automotive manufacturers in the world.
[Source: Automotive News]
Well, this is awkward. Volkswagen said some while back that GM might be selling Opel, possibly to them. It was a statement made by a chief executive, then repeated by German media, then finally catching the attention of GM itself. And now GM is distancing itself from such rumors, calling the statement “regrettable.”
“In Wednesday’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn commented on rumors regarding Opel,” said GM in a tersely-worded statement, “which continues a regrettable pattern of fanning speculation as Opel makes solid progress in its restructuring, in generating improved operating results.”
Opel’s chairman is “very satisfied” with his company’s results, yet also said that they do not comment on speculation.
“Opel has been part of the GM family since 1928 and remains important to the company,” GM said. “GM is pleased with Opel’s solid progress over the last year in turning around its business, and the company continues to invest in outstanding products for the European market.”
Volkswagen is hoping to ensure their long-term success by renewing the contract of CEO Martin Winterkorn for an undisclosed length of time. In a speech to VW employees in Germany, Bernd Osterloh, the advisory board’s chief deputy said that Winterkorn has “advanced the company in every respect.”
Under Winterkorn’s leadership, Volkswagen has acquired truck maker Scania and is in the process of merging with sports car maker Porsche. VW posted its largest profit in two years during the 2nd quarter of 2010, amid rising Chinese sales. Volkswagen is aiming to be the world’s largest car maker by 2018.
[Source: Detroit News]
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn is launching an ambitious plan to triple market share in the U.S. by 2018, with an electric vehicle and an all-new range of products designed with the U.S. market in mind at the forefront.
An electric car based on the Golf or the new Up city cars will by sold by 2013, while a hybrid Jetta and Touraeg will bow by the end of 2011. “Our goal is clear and ambitious,” Winterkorn told Automotive News yesterday at VW’s research laboratory in Palo Alto, California. “Volkswagen will be the automaker to mass produce the electric car for everyone.”
Volkswagen’s U.S. operations were shaken up by the departure of Stefan Jacoby, a 25 year veteran of VW. Jacoby’s exit left a large hole at the top of the U.S. subsidiary. Others think that VW North America and Winterkorn’s leadership will mean that the transition will be seamless.
“I don’t doubt it’s a loss,” Mike Tyndall, an automotive specialist at Nomura Securities in London, told Business Week. “In some ways the cake has been baked and it’s almost ready for the eating.”
[Source: Automotive News, Business Week]
The Truth About Cars is reporting that Volkswagen executives are turning their attention towards Korean auto giant Hyundai, after comments made to the press by two Volkswagen managers came to their attention.
According to a translation by TTAC’s Bertel Schmitt, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn spoke admirably about Hyundai in a German magazine, stating “I have the most respect for Hyundai. The Korean currency is low (as opposed to the Japanese …) and quality is high. “Hyundai now knows how to build good cars.”
In a seperate interview given to the Korea Times, Volkswagen honorary chairman Carl Hahn admonished Korean automakers to stop selling their cars based on low prices, and instead focus on quality and value for money.
“It is a matter of evolution,” Hahn said. When you’re a new comer in the market, you usually have to be a little modest. You buy a market share with low prices. But then, of course, you will face a job ― to get out of this trap as you won’t be competitive due to not having enough money per car you make.”
It’s an open secret that government subsidies and currency manipulation help Korean automakers sell their cars on the cheap. But with quality and engineering equaling that of most mainstream car companies from Europe, America and Japan, perhaps Volkswagen is concerned that their standing in the market will be threatened by the rise of Hyundai and Kia.
Back in 2000 Hyundai Kia CEO Chung Mong-koo refused a request by the company’s chairman, and his own father, to step down from the top post of the Korean automaker. Today, Mong-koo is getting the respect he rightly deserves, after being named Asia’s top automotive business leader by Automotive News.
The industry publication sited Hyundai’s quality improvement and expansion into new segments as part of the reason for Mong-koo’s award. This in turn has allowed Hyundai to increase sales globally and increase market share. Automotive News even said he had transformed Hyundai into a “superpower.”
Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik was also awarded the honor of being AN‘s top U.S. executive at an Asian automaker.
In other markets, awards went to Volkswagen chairman Martin Winterkorn as the top European automotive CEO, while Ford’s own Allan Mulally was named the top auto exec for an American automaker.
[Source: Korean Herald]
Legendary Italian design firm Italdesign Giugiaro will sell a 90 percent stake to the Volkswagen Group, as the German firm looks to consolidate even more power in the automotive world.
“The Volkswagen Group will be continuing its model initiative over the coming years and will benefit from the capacity and competence of Italdesign,” said Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, in a statement released to the media. Italdesign’s patriarch, Giorgetto Giugiaro helped design the first generation Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen’s most important product, along with the original Beetle.
For his part, Giugario felt that the move was necessary to ensure the survivability of his studio. “We have grown from a small studio to a substantial industrial organization which is able to deal with global automakers. There are times when individual egoism has to step back to ensure the future sustainability of jobs.” The price paid by VW for the firm was not disclosed to the media.
[Source: Automotive News]